Call for more action to combat stigma around mental health

A young man suffering from depression looks up information on mental health issues. (Picture by Newscast Online.)
A young man suffering from depression looks up information on mental health issues. (Picture by Newscast Online.)

Change is needed so people struggling with their mental health feel safe enough to speak out and get help.

That is the call that has gone out from See Me, Scotland’s initiative which tackles mental health discrimination and which will be using 2016 to focus on making positive changes.

It says these changes need to happen in workplaces, health and social care and with children and young people.

A YouGov survey commissioned by See Me found that 45 per cent of Scottish workers think people in their organisation would not speak out about their mental health for fear of discrimination.

Meanwhile young people working with See Me have said there needs to be a change in schools so that young people are able to speak about mental health from an early stage.

To start the change, people of all age groups are being asked to start looking out for each other and talk about mental health.

Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, said: “Nine out of ten people with mental health conditions have reported experiencing stigma or discrimination.

“We know the fear of this means many people will not speak openly about their mental health, which can make a problem worse.

“It is okay not to be okay, mental health affects all of us and one in four of us will experience a period of poor mental health this year.

“If you see someone struggling with their mental health, ask them if they are okay and really listen to what they have to say.

“You don’t have to be an expert to speak about mental health, being there for someone can make all the difference.”

See Me is Scotland’s national programme working to end mental health stigma and discrimination and enable people who experience mental health problems to live fulfilled lives. It is funded by the Scottish Government and Comic Relief and is managed by Scottish Association for Mental Health and the Mental Health Foundation.

To find out more about the work going on across the country and also find a wealth of resources by visiting www.seemescotland.org.