'Real progress' made in tackling stigma around mental health

There has been a big rise in the number of people willing to start conversations on the subject.

Mental health: See Me research finds ‘real progress’ in tackling stigma STV News

“Real progress” has been made in tackling the stigma around mental health over the past 20 years, new research has suggested.

A survey by the charity See Me found there had been a 60% rise in the number of people who now have the confidence to start a conversation on the subject. 

Nigel Honey, from Johnstone, was 19 when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and felt he had to keep his feelings to himself. 

Quarter of a century later, he feels far more comfortable speaking out about his mental health.

“I didn’t really want to talk to people about it, because at that time there was a real stigma about mental health,” Nigel said.

“If you did, people would be like ‘oh, he’s a nutter’ or ‘he’s a bit of a loony’.  

“You put on a front because you want to show the world you’re ok, but actually inside it’s really crushing and you’re really struggling.” 

Thomas Kelly has also started sharing his experience of mental health problems to help others. 

Thomas Kelly has been speaking out about his mental health. Picture: STV News

He was in a coma for three months following a heart attack as a result of an eating disorder, which he believes developed as a coping mechanism after losing his grandfather and mother. 

“Speaking out about it raises awareness and shows that we’re more than just a label and a mental illness,” Thomas said.

“We can be productive to society and you can recover from these things and live a full, productive life.”

The survey – of 1,000 people in Scotland – also found that 96% would be willing to support someone who was struggling with their mental health. 

Wendy Halliday, director at See Me, said: “I don’t feel this data will be fully representative of everybody in Scotland. 

“What it shows is a trend of people being more open about mental health, which is great, and talking more about it.

“But we do know there are many people who unfortunately, for whatever reason, whether it’s shame or fear or concern, just won’t open up until it’s a crisis point.” 

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