At the launch of Scottish Mental Health Week (Sunday 3rd October) ‘see me’, Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health, called on Scots to support each other to deliver a real impact on reducing stigma.
With over half (58%) of Scots experiencing stigma and discrimination because of their mental health problems, that’s more than three quarters of a million people , the campaign is urging people to make small changes to their own behaviour and the way they treat and respond to family, friends and colleagues who may have mental health problems. Research shows that stigma and discrimination can hinder recovery, damage self-esteem and confidence, and ultimately leave people feeling like they don’t know where to turn.
The majority of the population know someone with a mental health problem and at the launch in Edinburgh campaign volunteers with their friends and family released ‘see me’ lanterns . Each lantern displayed a personalised message of support to raise awareness and encourage others to support people they know who have mental health problems.
Suzie Vestri, ‘see me’ campaign director’, said: “People struggle to see how they can make a difference or worry that they might say or do the wrong thing and make things worse. The truth is that helping someone with a mental health problem is actually very simple. Talking, listening and being there for loved ones can help to make a real difference to those experiencing stigma. If we each commit to spending five minutes this week supporting a friend, family member or colleague with a mental health problem then we can really make a big difference.”