UK
07/10/2013 05:49 BST | Updated 07/10/2013 06:24 BST

The Sun Front Page Angers Mental Health Campaigners, Including Alastair Campbell

Campaigners have attacked The Sun for a front page setting out "shock" figures of people killed by mental health patients.

The headline of '1,200 KILLED BY MENTAL PATIENTS' came on the day that a report revealed people with mental health problems were three times more likely to be the victim of crime than the rest of the population.

The Labour Party said The Sun's splash "disgracefully reinforces" the stigma surrounding mental health problems, which affect one in four people.

sun front page

The Sun's front page

A spokesman for shadow health secretary Andy Burnham told the New Statesman: "Archaic attitudes still define our approach to mental health - we must challenge them."

Former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who is an ambassador for the Time to Change campaign, led the critics.

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Sun editors urged people to read beyond the headline, as the story pointed out a "care crisis" in Britain's mental health system.

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It also covered the study, published on Monday, that people with mental health problems were up to 10 times more likely to be victims of crime.

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Charity Victim Support, the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, Mind, the mental health charity, the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Kingston University and St George's, University of London, in collaboration with University College London, completed the research.

They found that people with severe mental illness were "significantly more likely" than the general population to report that the police have been unfair or disrespectful, new research has shown.

Many people with mental health problems told a UK survey they were not being believed when they attempted to report a crime or seek help.

And many were reluctant to report crimes to police or other professionals, saying they feared their illness would be used to discredit them or they would be sectioned, the study by charities and academics found.

Mind's chief executive Paul Farmer said: "People with mental health problems have an equal right to justice, yet this report reveals that this is not the reality for far too many of us.

"It is unacceptable that the police, healthcare staff and others who are supposed to support victims of crime may be dismissive of or not believe a person's experience, or may even blame them for the crime.

"We are calling on the police, commissioners, healthcare staff, support agencies, local and national government to work together and improve services for people with mental health problems who are the victims of crime."

Elsewhere, the report found people with severe mental illness were three times more likely to be a victim of any crime and five times more likely to experience assault.

Women with severe mental illness were 10 times more likely to experience assault.

Nearly 45% of people with severe mental illness reported experiencing crime in the last year, while 62% of women with

severe mental illness reported being victims of sexual violence as adults.