See Me… visit Parliament

Parliament was recently visited by representatives of ‘See Me…’, the Scotland-wide campaign to end the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health.

The campaign highlights that one in four people in Scotland will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives while challenging the fact that a significant number of people do not wish to talk about their situation.

For people living with a mental health condition there is a real fear of stigma and discrimination particularly in the workplace or at school.  We need to get to a situation where people can talk openly about these issues.

Knowing that there is someone you can talk to about mental health problems is a big part of protecting against or recovering from them.  This could be anyone that you trust whether it is a family member, friend, colleague or teacher.

Alongside the valuable work of the ‘See Me…’ campaign we also need to see effective action from the Scottish Government.

Last month Parliament debated current work regarding mental health services and the ongoing consultation on the Scottish Government’s mental health strategy.

The debate was very constructive with all parties contributing valuable points. However, while I welcome the consultation and much of what the Scottish Government is doing there is still room for improvement.

Statistics published last month showed that the number of antidepressant drugs being prescribed hit record levels in the last year.

While these drugs are effective in many cases, where appropriate I would like to see a greater focus on providing access to therapies to allow people to talk through the issues they are facing.  Through such therapies we can build on the work of ‘See Me…’ and encourage people to talk openly about mental health issues.

Through the mental health strategy the Scottish Government has set new targets on access to such therapies. While this is welcome it is vital that the right support is provided to deliver on them.

The consultation on the mental health strategy is a great opportunity to help shape this debate and if you would be interested in contributing you can do so by clicking here.