Just listen. You could change a life. That’s the message for people throughout the Western Isles from ‘see me’, Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health and TV personality Cat Cubie.
The latest ‘see me’ campaign is encouraging people across the Western Isles to talk about mental ill-health, and to listen to what is said. Talking openly about mental ill-health isn’t always easy but with someone there to listen, it could change a life.
This latest push comes on the back of recent research which found that a sizeable number of Scots (40%) would find it hard, or are unsure how to discuss or talk about mental illness, despite nearly two thirds (61%) of the population being in touch with someone with experience of mental ill-health.
Suzie Vestri, ‘see me’ campaign director, said: “If you think someone close to you might be experiencing mental ill-health, the first and most important thing to do is to ask how you can help, and listen to what they say to you.
“You don’t have to be an expert to listen to them, something as simple as sitting down with a cup of tea and having a chat or sending a quick text or invitation to meet up can really make a difference.
“It’s not easy, and your help might not seem welcome at first, but keep asking how they are and listen attentively when they do open up. Only by talking positively and openly can we end the stigma that surrounds mental ill-health. I would encourage everyone in the Western Isles to just listen. You really can change a life.”
Cat Cubie said: “It’s my job as a TV presenter to talk, but even I don’t always realise how important a wee chinwag can be. If someone you know is experiencing mental ill-health you might be the only person they can turn to. It’s not always an easy thing to talk about, but by simply being there to listen you could make the world of difference. That’s why ‘see me’s new campaign has got my full backing, it carries such an important message. I hope it encourages more people to feel comfortable talking about mental health so that we can help to end the stigma and discrimination that surrounds it.”
Gabrielle Quinn, a ‘see me’ volunteer, said: “I have found it so helpful to have people to listen and share my feelings with - people to stand beside and support me when I’m not feeling my best. My civil partner and best friend Vicky Quinn was so supportive when I have been going through a rough patch. She hasn’t been afraid to ask difficult questions and that support has really helped me. She’s so patient with me, listens when I need to talk and sits with me when I just need a shoulder to lean on.”
Activity kicked off with a refreshed TV advert which features two friends talking about how one didn’t give up on the other who was experiencing mental ill-health until he opened up. This will be supported with new radio and print adverts as well as key digital and social media activity to start the Just listen. You could change a life conversation online.
Watch the TV advert here: www.seemescotland.org/justlisten
Get involved in the online conversation by liking the ‘see me’ Facebook page or tweeting #endstigma #justlisten.