Scotland's Mental Health Partnership Election Manifesto Launch

Posted by See Me, 18 February 2021

See Me is one of 17 professional bodies and third sector organisations who make up the Scottish Mental Health Partnership.

We want a future where good mental health and wellbeing is enjoyed by all. As part of Scotland's Mental Health Partnership, we're urging the Scottish Government to make mental health a priority and to Promote, Prevent and Provide.

Ahead of the election the Partnership proposes a new way of thinking about how we ensure stigma and discrimination is challenged and that better mental health and wellbeing can be delivered for all, focussing on promotion, prevention and providing the right support.

Tackling stigma and discrimination and addressing the barriers and issues they create must be seen as an essential part of all action to improve mental health to enable people who experience mental health problems to live full lives.

To support that public health messaging must highlight what stigma and discrimination looks and feels like and empower people to challenge it, while encouraging and equipping people across Scotland to talk openly about their own and others’ mental health without fear.

To help prevent people struggling as much as possible, people with experience of mental health problems must be supported to actively participate in work which can prevent mental health stigma and discrimination from occurring, including service design and decision making.

In providing support, national and local decision-makers must resource, design and implement policies, systems and services that take account of the needs of people with lived experience of mental health problems, and reduce mental health stigma and discrimination.

A joined up person centred system where people's previous experience of a mental health problem doesn't have an unfairly negative impact on their current/future support and treatment for physical and mental health problems is vital.

See Me volunteer Angela McCrimmon, 43, from Livingston, said that if there was more promotion around mental health it would have made a huge difference in her life.

She said: “Everyone has mental health and it’s important to be able to pay attention to it before there’s a problem. If people around me had a better understanding it would have meant the fact I was struggling could have been identified sooner. When you look back, there were a lot of red flags.

“My friends accept me the way I am. But there was a significant period of misunderstanding and stigma from professionals and that was horrific. I was put into hospital, for instance, which would never have been a place of choice for me.”

Angela thinks that prevention and getting early help and support, free from stigma and discrimination, is key to recovery. She said: “For me, if they had prevented the crisis rather than waited for it, it would have avoided so much agony for everyone. For years I needed someone to catch me so I wouldn’t get to crisis. Where I would have otherwise have needed one service, I needed six instead.

“The longer you’re not in recovery, the harder it is to get there. The longer it goes on for you, the more you can lose the belief in yourself and don’t believe recovery is possible.

“Self-help keeps recovery at the forefront of the mind, but it’s a long process and it’s about recovery – not being recovered. The key point, though, was that I didn’t have to be ill all the time, and that I’m not the illness.”

Further details on the manifesto and its key asks can be found on the Scottish Mental Health Partnership website.

Read the Manifesto from Scotland's Mental Health Partnership

A manifesto that demands more from the Scottish Government to prioritise mental health and wellbeing. We need to Promote, Prevent and Provide mental health services for all.

Read More