What you can do to stop stigma and discrimination

What you can do to stop stigma and discrimination

Take action. Change lives. Join the movement now

See Me is creating a movement which will bring together people from all over Scotland and beyond who are determined to stop mental health stigma and discrimination in its tracks. It’s led by those with lived experience of discrimination and those who care about injustice and equal rights in society. 

Giving your voice of support creates a ripple effect outwards. It can change minds and lives. 

Our collective action will give us a united and powerful voice to change negative behaviour towards those with mental health problems. We simply want understanding and equality so that people who experience poor mental health have the same opportunities as others to lead a fulfilled life. 

“I believe that I should have the same rights as someone who doesn’t have mental health issues.”

How you can take action to help end mental health stigma and discrimination

  • Start a conversation with a friend, family member or work colleague about mental health stigma and discrimination
  • Challenge stigmatising behaviour when and where you see it and tell us what happened as a result. We can learn by positive actions and want to share success stories.
  • Follow See Me on social media and join in our online debates
    @seemescotland   facebook/seemescotland
  • Speak out or write about your experiences to make it easier for others to do so.
  • Tell us when you have seen discrimination taking place, whether in the media or in day to day life. 
  • Tell us about issues of concern in your area so that we can feed them into our work programme
  • Volunteer at events raising awareness of mental health stigma and discrimination
  • Attend events and conferences organised by See Me and their partners 

Join our movement for change

View the campaign and find out how you can get involved.

Take action, change lives

Challenge inappropriate behaviour 

Put yourself in the shoes of the person who is at the receiving end of the words, behaviour or actions and imagine how that makes them feel. Together or as individuals we need to have the strength to challenge anyone who fails to treat someone with a mental health problem with respect, dignity and as an equal. 

Often, the people behaving inappropriately may not mean to cause harm and are ignorant of the negative impact of their actions or words. Simply by explaining the situation may be enough for them not to make the same mistakes again. The good news is inappropriate behaviour is increasingly not tolerated as awareness and better understanding about mental ill health continues to spread. However, phrases and words will still crop up in our day to day lives from direct conversations, our experiences and in the media. Phrases like 'pull yourself together' or 'there are people worse off than you' can hurt and affect those battling mental ill health. 

Examples of casual stigma: 

  • Language used (nuts, mental, psycho, weirdo, a bit OCD).
  • Reinforcing stereotypes such as the mental patient Halloween costume, Frank Bruno psycho headline.
  • Unhelpful comments - “Is that you out on day leave?” said taxi driver.
  • Pictures used to depict mental ill health like the "head clutcher" 

Other things to look out for: 

  • Avoid making a judgement based on a diagnosis of mental illness
  • Don’t Ignore a cry for help from a friend or family member as you see their behaviour as attention seeking when in actual fact, seeking attention is nothing to feel ashamed about but a sign of strength.
  • Making someone feel different due to mental ill health which can hinder recovery by causing self doubt over the validity of the illness – ‘am I really ill?’
  • Recognising that opening up to friends and family is still too daunting an experience for many with mental ill health. Be patient and wait till they are ready. Don't show frustration and be there to listen non-judgementally when the time is right.
  • Don’t steer clear of someone with a mental health diagnosis. They are still the person you know but are unwell.