Islanders urged to take a stand against stigma

‘see me’ – Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health – is calling on people throughout the Western Isles to support each other in the year ahead by tackling stigma head-on.

With nearly two thirds (61%) of the population in touch with someone with experience of mental ill-health and a sizeable number (40%) of Scots admitting they would find it hard or are unsure on how to discuss or talk about the issue, the campaign is urging people in the Western Isles to talk openly and honestly about mental ill-health in 2013.

For those living with mental health problems, the attitudes and reactions of family, friends and workmates can have a big impact on how they feel. And, with one in four Scots affected by mental ill-health at some point in their lives ‘see me’ wants to encourage people to think about existing attitudes in the New Year and how they can better support those around them.

Campaign director, Suzie Vestri, said: “It’s that time of year when people across the country will be thinking about their New Year’s resolutions with many planning to learn a new skill or give up bad habits. But, I would urge everyone in the Western Isles to consider what they can also do to help others in 2013.

“Helping someone with a mental health problem can be very simple. Just talking, listening and being there for them can make a real difference to those experiencing stigma.

“If we all take a little time to make a big difference, we can help break down the barriers of the stigma of mental ill-health. So, let’s work together in 2013 and beyond by talking openly and honestly about mental ill-heath.”

Supporting is simple: talk, listen and show you care

Remember that your friend or family member is likely to be nervous about telling you how they feel.

Don’t shy away from the issue. Ask questions, listen to ideas, and be responsive. Ask what you can do to help.

Don’t dismiss a person’s worries - express your interest and concern.

You don’t have to have all the ‘right’ answers, simply listening shows you care.

Remember that the mental health problem being experienced by your friend or family member is only a part of who they are.