Community comes together to show it’s ok to speak about mental health

WIAMH and See Me volunteers and staff at the event.
WIAMH and See Me volunteers and staff at the event.
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Soup and Pudding have brought the people of Stornoway together to talk openly about mental health.

The Western Isles Association for Mental Health (WIAMH) and national anti-stigma programme, See Me, came together to change the way people think about mental health.

See Me’s community champion in Stornoway, Murdo Macleod has been working over the last year and a half to tackle stigma.

Last summer he held a Pass the Badge event in Stornoway, where mental health messages were shared in English and Gaelic.

This year Murdo has been working with the WIAMH to arrange A Big Lunch for Mental Health on Saturday (June 17th).

It aimed to show that mental health can be a topic of everyday conversation and that it is okay not to be okay.

The event, which attracted 150 people, took place MA Macleod Memorial Hall. To help get the chats going Soup and Pudding was served.

Del Gunn, from WIAMH, said: “At the Association, we think it is important to bring people together and get them talking more openly about mental health.

“This enables concerned neighbours, friends and families to be more comfortable in helping people who may be experiencing problems in their own communities.

“Bringing people together is a real aid to preventing ill health. Talking with someone else about their mental health creates resilience and a ‘safety net’, which can reduce potentially harmful situations.

“We are great believers that people can and do recover from mental ill health. We also feel that talking and sharing can prevent a problem becoming a crisis.”

Toni Groundwater, See Me’s social movement manager, said: “Bringing communities together and showing that it is okay to speak about mental health is vital.

“The work by Murdo and the Western Isles Association for Mental Health is fantastic. We all have mental health and all need to be comfortable talking about it.”