Mental Health’s Vital in Every Language

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Mental health activists in Stornoway will be spreading a vital message, in English and Gaelic.

See Me, Scotland’s national programme to end mental health discrimination, has been working with their Community Champion in Stornoway, Murdo Macleod, to create a mental health campaign in Gaelic.

The Pass the Badge Campaign was originally created by Moffat mental health activist Richard Monaghan (pictured) to challenge mental health stigma, which is having a devastating impact on people’s lives.

People wear the badge for a day and then pass it on to someone else to wear for the next 24 hours.

When people pass it on they share two facts, that one in four people will experience some form of mental health problem this year and of those who do, nine out of ten report experiencing stigma and discrimination.

After handing out thousands of badges in the south of Scotland, Richard, also a See Me Champion, paired up with Murdo to bring the campaign to Stornoway, but importantly the messages would be in both English and Gaelic for the first time.

Murdo has worked with the Western Isles Association for mental health to bring the campaign to the area, and will launch it at a fundraising event on June 18th.

Both Murdo and Richard will hand out the badges and the messages, the first to be created in a language other than English.

Murdo said: “It’s very rare for mental health campaigns to be in Gaelic, hopefully this will be a springboard for future bilingual campaign literature in the Gaelic heartlands.

“Having culturally competent and sensitive Gaelic campaign literature gives respect to and regard for the unique culture of the Western Isles. This will touch a chord with many in the Islands, particularly in our rural areas where Gaelic is strongest.

“These resources will also demonstrate the importance of every culture acknowledging the universality of mental health issues.”

Richard wanted to help change attitudes around mental health after he experienced a break down with depression when working as a senior director in the rail industry in charge of 2000 employees.

He said “When I first told people who I was and what happened people were uneasy and seemed embarrassed. It was all about stigma, people didn’t want to talk about it, but after doing this a lot I’m finding I can have more normal conversations.”

Eleanor Ogilvie, See Me community manager, said: “We are building a movement across Scotland of people passionate about ending mental health discrimination.

“It’s vitally important that we are able to reach and engage with all communities, so we’re delighted to be launching the Gaelic Pass the Badge Campaign, in Scotland’s Gaelic heartland, Stornoway.

“People worry about speaking about mental health and don’t know how to approach the subject.

The Pass the Badge campaign helps people to open up conversations about mental health, and by passing the badge on, allows these conversations to continue.”

The launch will happen at a fundraising event at the M A Macleod Memorial Hall, Stornoway on June 18th, from 12pm-2pm.