Tagsa Uibhist awarded grant to tackle stigma and discrimination

Tagsa Uibhist from the Western Isles has been awarded £1,000 from the ‘see me’ Local Grants Scheme 2013.‘see me’, Scotland’s national campaign to tackle the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health, awarded the funding to Tagsa Uibhist in Benbecula for their project aimed to break down the barriers and encourage people to talk about their mental health.

Tagsa Uibhist will produce information cards with messages of positive mental wellbeing detailing support organisations and an anti-stigma message. A local artist who lives with mental health issues will design the materials and the project will be co-ordinated by individuals with experience of mental ill-health who will oversee content and information.

The wallet sized cards will be launched with local employers such as Western Isles Council, Post Office and organisations including retailers, building companies and fire service. Employers will be encouraged to distribute the cards to all their staff members. Accompanying letters and visits at the time of the launch aims to help employers see this as a valuable exercise to get mental health on the agenda at work. They will support relationships with employees and provide an opportunity to raise awareness and challenge the stigma and stereotypes that exist around mental ill-health.

Sheila MacDonald, Outreach Worker at Tagsa Uibhist said: “Our mental health outreach project works to support those in our community who experience mental health issues and to promote a better understanding of mental health issues within our local community. Funding from ‘see me’ will ensure that local employers receive wallet sized cards to be distributed to employees, designed by those who have experienced living in the Uists with mental health problems. To target our community directly, we plan to use some Gaelic content in the design and feature local and national sources of support.”

The ‘see me’ Local Grants Scheme has distributed £40,000 of funding to groups across Scotland to help fight stigma in their local area. It seeks to encourage organisations to take a lead in changing public attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems by engaging with their local community. People with lived experience of mental ill-health have a key role in the delivery of each project.

Billy Watson, ‘see me’ spokesperson, said “The Mental Health Outreach Project appealed to the ‘see me’ Local Grants Scheme because of the community involvement throughout the Western Isles.”

“We are committed to supporting local organisations and their inspiring initiatives for tackling the stigma of mental ill-health. This scheme provides organisations with the opportunity to speak up and helps them to play their part in ending discrimination in their community. We hope that Tagsa Uibhist will make a positive difference and encourage others across the Western Isles to get involved too.”

For further information on the Local Grants Scheme, please go to www.seemescotland.org/getinvolved/local-grants-scheme