Campaign aims to end stigma of mental health
NEARLY 30 per cent of Scots say they have experienced mental health problems, according to new research.
A YouGov poll of 1,004 Scottish adults, commissioned by See Me, ‘the national programme to end mental health discrimination’, found that 29 per cent of Scots said they have experienced mental health problems, and 39 per cent say a family member has. However, 35 per cent said that either themselves or someone close to them had experienced stigma or discrimination because of their mental health.
Some of the most common areas where this stigma occurs are in workplaces, with young people, in health and social care and with friends and family.
See Me has said that the first step to ending this stigma is for everyone to feel confident speaking about mental health and to be there for each other. This year it will focus on making this change from a young age, with its ‘ What’s On Your Mind?’ pack now available to schools across the country to download.
Calum Irving, See Me director, said: ‘We all have mental health, it can be up or it can be down, any of us could struggle at any point. To treat someone differently because they are going through a tough time isn’t fair.
‘However, we know that stigma isn’t always intentional. People often don’t speak about mental health because they are worried they will say the wrong thing or could make it worse. But if no-one speaks about mental health, then people won’t feel comfortable asking for help when they need it.
‘A good new year’s resolution for all of us could be to open up a conversation on mental health. You can do that with a simple, “Are you okay?”
‘You don’t need to have all the answers, just talking to someone about how they feel can help. What we want everyone to know this year is it’s okay not to be okay, and it’s okay to speak about it and it’s okay to ask for help.’
Earlier in November, See Me reported that the majority of young people in Scotland don’t tell anyone if they are struggling with their mental health.
New figures revealed that young people are not going to family, teachers, carers and others who are responsible for looking after them when they are experiencing negative thoughts and feelings. To change this, See Me launched its It’s Okay campaign to support young people through all the things that might affect or worry them.
A new video and website created for the campaign aims to help young people understand their feelings better and have the confidence and words to reach out to the right people for support and guidance when they are struggling.