MIND THE GAPS
Meeting the needs of people with co-occurring substance misuse and mental health problems
NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
'see me' -- 'See me as a person, not a label.' This is the message at the heart of Scotland's first national anti-stigma campaign. Funded by the Scottish Executive as part of the National Programme, 'see me' aims to break down the attitudes which lead to stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems. 'see me' is an alliance of the following five mental health organisations: Highland Users Group (HUG), National Schizophrenia Fellowship (Scotland), Penumbra, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (Scottish Division) and the Scottish Association for Mental Health.
A sustained, high profile Scotland-wide anti-stigma and anti-discrimination campaign was launched 8 October 2002. The campaign uses a range of media, including TV and cinema advertising and production and dissemination of a range of anti-stigma resource materials and a website. ( www.seemescotland.org) The campaign will also initiate, stimulate, promote and complement national and local anti-stigma action by agencies, organisations and groups in public, private and voluntary sectors. Refreshed advertising took place in February and March 2003. New advertising plans are currently in development. In addition, earlier in 2003, 'see me' campaign launched guidelines for the media responsible for reporting on mental health issues.
'Breathing Space' - The Executive is committed to developing measures to address high levels of suicide and depression. One initiative is 'Breathing Space' a telephone advice and referral service for people with low mood or depression, particularly for those, such as young men, who might not normally be in touch with health services.
Breathing Space aims to appeal in particular to young men who have been experiencing difficulties, or are feeling unhappy in their lives. It may be that they have specific problems or issues which they are finding hard to resolve. They may simply need someone to talk to.
Breathing Space is a confidential free-phone service staffed by specialist advisors who can offer callers information, advice and support as well as suggestions for a wide variety of other services which could be useful as an ongoing resource. (Each advisor is equipped with a database of local and national agencies).
The aim is to give people, young men in particular, the space and the means to improve their present situations and so prevent the development of more serious problems and reduce the incidence of mental illness. Breathing Space is available from 6pm-2am nightly and can be contacted on 0800 83 85 87. Their Website can be found at www.breathingspacescotland.co.uk
Breathing Space is one aspect of the Scottish Executive's wider drive to tackle Scotland's high levels of suicide. ' Choose Life', a National Strategy and Action Plan to Prevent Suicide in Scotland, was launched by the Minister for Health and Community Care in December 2002, with guidance for local authorities and their community planning partners, on implementation, issued in July 2003.