NHS 24 has given its support to Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma attached to mental ill-health by this week signing a formal pledge.
Nearly two thirds (61 per cent) of the population know someone close to them who has experience of mental ill-health but 40 per cent of Scots admit they would find it hard, or are unsure, how to discuss or talk about mental illness.
The health service’s telehealth and telecare organisation signed the an anti-stigma pledge to help raise awareness about mental health and well-being and will work with the national ‘see me’ programme in a bid to improve the understanding of mental ill-health.
John Turner, NHS 24 chief executive, said: “It is vitally important that people experiencing mental health problems feel they can ask for support. This is an important issue for us all, and NHS 24.
“We will be working closely with ‘see me’ to promote and support their campaign.”
By signing the ‘see me’ pledge, NHS 24 will commit to an action plan to help end the stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with mental ill-health, which covers the organisation’s capacity as an employer, service provider and community stakeholder.
Dr Stella Clark, clinical lead for mental health services at NHS 24, added: “The social stigma experienced by people with mental health problems can make the road to recovery harder, deny opportunities for employment and have a negative effect on personal relationships.
“Being able to speak openly to friends, family and colleagues can aid recovery from mental ill-health.”
The health service’s backing has been welcomed by ‘see me’ and Judith Robertson, programme director, said she hopes NHS 24’s involvement will encourage other organisations to follow suit.
Further information and resources about looking after mental health can be found through the NHS Inform Mental Health and Wellbeing Zone at http://www.nhsinform.co.uk/mentalhealth