Community champions in Fife are being sought to help reduce the stigma of mental health conditions.
See Me - the national programme to end mental health discrimination - wants to discover how stigma is affecting the lives of people in the Kingdom who are experiencing mental health difficulties.
To do this, they are looking for people to become ‘Community Champions’ - leaders in the area who identify where discrimination exists and take action to change it.
See Me currently has community champions in other areas of the country, who are tackling mental health stigma at universities, with young people in the east end of Glasgow and in health care.
The champions, who have personal experience of mental health conditions, went through a four day training programme, carried out over six months, to develop the skills they need to target the areas where issues exist.
Richard Monaghan, one of See Me’s first champions, wanted to make a change because he felt there was a reluctance to talk about mental health, which led to a build-up of negative attitudes.
His first step was to hold a fundraising coffee morning last month. Over 200 people attended and £1500 was raised for charity.
He said: “Mental health problems don’t discriminate, they attack anybody and everybody.
“I hope the champions will be able to change the way we look at mental health and if not eliminate stigma and discrimination, then certainly reduce it drastically.”
See Me wants to recruit champions from Fife, who could challenge discrimination in workplaces, in health and social care, with children and young people or by engaging their local community.
Rebekah Moore from See Me, who runs the community champions programme, said: “We know that two out of three people with mental health conditions stop some day to day activities for fear of stigma and discrimination. This is unacceptable and limits people’s opportunity to lead fulfilled lives.
“One of the ways we are challenging this is through the Community Champion leadership programme.
“The programme empowers people to become leaders in their local area, who can inspire communities to take action against stigma and discrimination.”
She added: “It creates more connected and healthier communities where people with mental health problems are supported.”
For information on becoming a community champion visit www.seemescotland.org or contact Rebekah Moore on 0141 530 1093.