Home Media News Archive 2012 University joins ‘see me’ to tackle stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health

University joins ‘see me’ to tackle stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health

Issued 12 March 2012

Eight Highland organisations, including three partner colleges and the executive office of the University of the Highlands and Islands, have formally pledged their commitment to work with ‘see me’ to tackle the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental ill-health.

‘see me’, Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health, works in partnership with local businesses, organisations and public bodies across Scotland to highlight the importance of positive mental health and well-being, both in the workplace and beyond. ‘see me’ is committed to helping people to speak openly and confidently about mental ill-health to break down the associated barriers.

Representatives from The Highland Council, University of the Highlands and Islands executive office, Inverness College UHI, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, Northern Constabulary, Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club, NHS Highland and West Highland College UHI signed the pledge with Suzie Vestri, ‘see me’s Campaign Director.

As part of their pledge commitment, the Highland organisations agreed action plans to join with ‘see me’ to tackle the stigma and discrimination around mental ill-health by taking action as employers, service providers and community stakeholders. As well as providing key support, they seek to implement organisational change and importantly, make the topic of mental illness more openly discussed in local communities.

Suzie Vestri, ‘see me’ Campaign Director, said: “We welcome the commitment made by organisations in the Highlands to tackle stigma and discrimination. Mental ill-health affects one in four Scots; it could happen to a friend, family member or colleague. What these organisations do and say about mental health really does count. We hope the support they have pledged will encourage other businesses, groups and organisations to take positive action by joining us in signing the ‘see me’ pledge.”

Dr Margaret Somerville, NHS Highland Director of Public Health, said: “Mental health problems are very common across the population. They are a major cause of ill-health in the community generally, as well as a leading cause of time lost from work, but they have not always been given the attention needed to tackle them. NHS Highland fully supports the ‘see me’ campaign to reduce the stigma of mental ill-health and will be actively working with partners to achieve this.”

The Highland Council Convener, Councillor Sandy Park, said: “Highland Council is committed to working against the stigma of mental ill-health. For people with mental health problems, coping with stigma can be harder than living with the illness itself. We’re pleased to be signing today alongside our partners and will continue to work with them towards a time when stigma is a thing of the past. ”

For more information on signing the ‘see me’ pledge visit: www.seemescotland.org

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