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Monday, 15 October 2012

More than a third of Scottish people do not know how to talk to someone about mental ill-health, new figures have revealed this week.

See Me, Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma of mental ill-health, released the figures for National Mental Health week.

Although nearly two-thirds of the population know someone close to them who has experienced mental ill-health, many are nervous of talking about the issues.

See Me aims to improve life for people with mental health problems by improving the attitudes of Scottish people to mental ill health.

People with mental health problems have said that the reactions of family, friends and workmates can have a big impact on how they feel.

And, with one in four Scots affected by mental ill-health at some point in their lives, See Me is urging people to think about their own attitudes and how they can better support those around them.

Suzie Vestri, campaign director of See Me said: “Our survey suggests that while 60 per cent of Scots wouldn’t find it hard to talk to someone with a mental health problem, there is still a sizable amount of people who would.

“Our role is to help the remaining 40 per cent understand more about mental ill-health, and how they can positively support someone with a mental health problem, be it a friend, a colleague or a family member.”

See Me is launching a new smartphone app this week entitled Defeat Stigman. It raises awareness of the stigma often associated with mental ill-health and challenges users to think about their own attitudes.

Meanwhile, a successful Scotland-wide counselling service for survivors of childhood abuse, also announced this week it is to be extended.

The two-year funding package from the Survivor Scotland Development Fund has enabled the Trauma Counselling Line Scotland (TCLS) to increase the number of highly qualified and experienced counsellors it employs from four to ten.

The Trauma Counselling Line Scotland (TCLS) was launched in January 2011 by leading mental health charity Health in Mind.

Childhood abuse can include sexual, emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual abuse or neglect.

Team Leader Eileen Hone said: “The service is unique in that clients work with the same counsellor for up to one hour every week and this is important as it means there is no need for them to repeat the details of their experience every time they call.

“The client will decide what time of day or evening is best for them and as it is telephone counselling, they will choose a place where they feel safe.

“Telephone counselling is effective for clients who do not feel they could cope with face to face counselling, or may have mobility problems, live in a remote location or suffer from a fear of leaving their home.”

Sessions are anonymous, totally confidential and can be allocated within a week of the enquiry with counselling able to commence the following week.

TCLS is available to clients who speak Polish, Urdu, Punjabi and French as well as English.

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