Fifers step out to challenge mental health stigma

The walkers set off from Silverburn Park, Lundin Links last Wednesday.
The walkers set off from Silverburn Park, Lundin Links last Wednesday.

Fifers have been stepping out together to show it is okay to talk about mental health.

Fife Health and Social Care Partnership arranged two Walk a Mile events, to get people talking about mental health and breaking down stigma, with a focus on the vital area of health and social care.

The walkers set off from Stratheden Hospital and Silverburn Park, Lundin Links last Wednesday. The two walks were the latest in a national campaign, created by See Me with activist Chris McCullough Young, which has seen thousands of people walking across the country.

The campaign was inspired by Mr McCullough Young’s walk around the edge of Scotland. He set off from his home in Edinburgh, first walking north to Fife, to speak to as many people as he could about mental health.

His idea of changing attitudes towards mental health, one conversation at a time, is the basis of the Walk a Mile events, which show that mental health can be a topic of everyday conversations.

Julie Paterson, divisional general manager, Fife-wide said: “The Health and Social Care Partnership is delighted that Walk a Mile came to Fife. This is about tackling stigma and discrimination in mental health one step at a time.

“Working in collaboration with See Me across the Health and Social Care Partnership, Walk a Mile is one strand of a range of anti-stigma activity taking place in Fife and we are delighted that the people of Fife came out and showed their support.”

Calum Irving, See Me director, said: “It is fantastic to see the people in Fife making real positive changes, bringing people together with the walk. Having the Health and Social Care Partnership arrange this walk shows how important it is that we ensure that people have positive attitudes towards mental health, in the health care system.

“One of the best ways to change how people think and behave is to make mental health a topic in day to day conversation, rather than a taboo subject people don’t want to talk about.” See Me is Scotland’s National programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, enabling people who experience mental health problems to live fulfilled lives.