Local mental health group takes action against stigma
Local mental health organisation the Express Group, which provides high quality service to people in Fife with psychiatric illness, has made a public stance against the damaging discrimination experienced by people with mental illness by signing the ‘see me’ Pledge.
The Express Group joins a number of local organisations including Fife Council, Fife Constabulary, NHS Fife, CVS Fife, Community Scotland, Scottish Enterprise Fife and a consortium of local colleges including, Carnegie College, Adam Smith College and Elmwood College to sign the ‘see me’ Pledge.
‘see me’, Scotland’s national mental health anti-stigma campaign, believes that working in partnership with groups and organisations across Scotland is a crucial way to eliminate the stigma which continues to exist around mental ill-health.
Director of the Express Group, April Adamson and Chief Executive NHS Fife, George Brechin joined ‘see me’ Campaign Director, Suzie Vestri at Leven Baptist Church Hall to sign the ‘see me’ anti-stigma Pledge, which aims to challenge stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental health problems.
One in four Scots will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their life and recent research carried out by ‘see me’ found that 81% of those who do have been stigmatised as a result, with many saying that the stigma they experience is worse than the mental health problem itself1. The fear of stigma can prevent people from taking up opportunities, such as getting involved in community activities and applying for jobs for which they would be qualified.
Commenting on the significance of today’s Pledge signing, ‘see me’s Campaign Director, Suzie Vestri said: “The Express Group, Fife is dedicated to providing local people with high quality mental health services and signing the ‘see me’ Pledge highlights their ongoing commitment to tackling the stigma associated with mental ill health.
“We can all play a part in helping to stamp out stigma and the backing of organisations and employers can really help that to happen. It’s excellent that people in Fife are showing their commitment and taking a lead in helping to improve people’s lives in the local community.”
Brechin Chief Executive NHS Fife added: “Unfortunately people today still face discrimination and disadvantage within their workplace and communities because of their mental health. Express Group (Fife) Ltd has for over thirty years worked and supported people to challenge and overcome this discrimination and disadvantage. By signing the ‘see me’ anti stigma pledge today they are showing their commitment to continue working with and for people who have or are currently experiencing mental health problems.
“As a supporter of the ‘see me’ campaign and co-signatory (within the Fife Partnership) of the pledge in 2006 NHS Fife is delighted to welcome Express Group (Fife) Ltd on board as a fellow signatory and would urge other organisations from all sectors of Fife to support the campaign by signing the pledge.”
For further information or photography please contact Rebecca Charles or Katrina Muir at Smarts on 0131 561 0401/ 07855 331 779.
1 National Hear Me survey which gathered information from 1,200 respondents about the way in which stigma affects not only those with mental ill-health, but also the people who support them including friends, family and carers, August – October 2006.
Notes to Editors
About ‘see me’:
• The ‘see me’ anti-stigma campaign is run by an alliance of five Scottish mental health organisations: HUG - action for mental health, Support in Mind (Scotland), Penumbra, RCPsych in Scotland and Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).
• ‘see me’ is funded by the Scottish Government.
• The ‘see me’ campaign features a programme of events and local and national initiatives to reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health problems throughout Scotland.