A SOUTH Uist girl who won a Young Scot Award last year has been continuing her good work for charity ‘See Me’.
Gemma Patterson who is from West Gerinish in South Uist won an award in the Diversity and Citizenship category of the Young Scot Award’s 2012 for her voluntary work with the mental health awareness campaign.
‘See Me’ is a charitable organisation which aims to raise awareness about people living with mental health conditions in Scotland and try to tackle the stigma which is often associated with mental ill-health.
Gemma’s work with the charity began at the start of last year. She was asked if she would consider being a volunteer and, after being sent off for some support and media training, her work began.
Her involvement with the organisation is largely due to her struggle with mental illness when she was younger. At the age of fifteen, Gemma suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but was able to overcome her illness through medication and counselling.
In the past, Gemma has urged other young people to speak out about mental illness and encourages them: “There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. In my case it took two years but it’s different for everyone.”
Throughout the past year she has continued her work with the charity by campaigning for them and raising public awareness about ‘See Me’.
This has involved tasks such as handing out leaflets to the public as well as activities in a larger context, with a wider audience.
Last year Gemma spoke at the See Me Annual Reception which was held at the Scottish Parliament.
Gemma, who has been enjoying her work said the campaign is: “Amazingly successful, but there’s still a lot of work that needs done.”
She emphasised that there was still a lot to do with regard to tackling the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“We need to reach more people, especially in the Western Isles where people aren’t so aware of the charity. There is definitely a need for more support workers in the Western Isles.”
Later this year, Gemma is hoping to go and study at university on the mainland: “I’m applying for university just now and hope to be able to start in September.”
She wants to study social care with a view to furthering her work for ‘See Me’ and those affected by mental illness in the future: “I’m hoping to become a social worker after I graduate and come back to work in the Western Isles.”
Gemma is not phased at the prospect of keeping up all the work she’s been doing while studying at the same time: “See Me arrange everything around any other work I’m doing so I can pick up with them no matter what I’m doing.”
The nominations for this year’s Young Scot awards close on February 17th to make a nomination log on to: website
The awards are set to take place on Friday 19th April at Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium.
If you want to learn more about ‘See Me’ and the work that Gemma helps to promote then visit their website: click here