‘Hear Me’ And ‘See Me’ Tackle Mental Health Stigma

‘see me’, the Scottish mental health anti-stigma campaign is calling for people throughout Scotland to have their say on mental health, with the launch of the largest national stigma survey to date. Since 2002, ‘see me’ has been campaigning for the rights of people with mental health problems and tackling the stigma and discrimination of mental-ill health across Scotland. The ‘hear me’ survey aims to gather information about the way in which stigma affects not only those with experience of mental health, but also the people who support them including friends, family and carers.

The research will give ‘see me’ valuable information to help the campaign decide where it should target its efforts to best effect in future.  It has also been designed to find out whether those directly affected by stigma think that ‘see me’ is making a difference where it really matters – in people’s behaviour towards them.

‘see me’ campaign director, Linda Dunion said: “People have always been at the heart of the ‘see me’ campaign.  Hundreds of people of all ages, from all parts of Scotland, have helped determine how the campaign should look, sound and operate and we want to continue to give people a voice with the national stigma survey.

“For some people, stigma can be more distressing than the symptoms of their mental health problems and other people’s uninformed attitudes can make people with mental health problems feel as if they are to blame. By taking just a few minutes to complete the anonymous questionnaire, people throughout Scotland can make a real contribution to the ‘see me’ campaign to help break down the ignorance and fear which surrounds mental health problems.”

With one in four Scots experiencing a mental health problem, it is likely that if it doesn’t happen to you it will happen to someone you know. Stigma and discrimination can take many forms. It can mean being avoided, ignored, talked about, laughed at or being treated less favourably than other people because of mental health problems.

James Cairns, 29, from Glasgow, who has first-hand experience of stigma from people who didn’t understand his mental health problems said: “It can be very hurtful when people don’t understand mental health problems. I ended up feeling very isolated and alone as none of my friends wanted to know me.

“It is important that people don’t suffer stigma in silence. The new ‘see me’ survey gives everyone the chance to have their say about mental health. It’s easy to fill in and will help to improve the lives of people like me who have experienced stigma.”

The survey, which will run throughout August and September, can be completed by visiting the ‘see me’ website at www.seemescotland.org/survey or by filling in the questionnaire leaflet being distributed across Scotland.  Leaflets can also be ordered directly from ‘see me’ either through the website or by calling 0131 624 8945..