Angus residents told “just listen”

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Scotland’s latest ‘see me’ campaign, aimed at tackling the stigma and discrimination attached to mental ill-health, has been launched, with people in Angus and beyond being told: “Just Listen. You could change a life.”

The campaign is encouraging locals to talk about mental ill-health and to listen to what is said. Talking openly about mental ill-health isn’t always easy but with someone there to listen, it could change a life.

This latest push comes on the back of recent research which found that a sizeable number of Scots (40%) would find it hard, or are unsure how to discuss or talk about mental illness, despite nearly two thirds (61%) of the population being in touch with someone with experience of mental ill-health.

Suzie Vestri, ‘see me’ campaign director, said: “If you think someone close to you might be experiencing mental ill-health, the first and most important thing to do is to ask how you can help, and listen to what they say to you. You don’t have to be an expert to listen to them, something as simple as sitting down with a cup of tea and having a chat or sending a quick text or invitation to meet up can really make a difference.

“It’s not easy, and your help might not seem welcome at first, but keep asking how they are and listen attentively when they do open up. Only by talking positively and openly can we end the stigma that surrounds mental ill-health. I would encourage everyone in Angus to just listen. You really can change a life.”

Gabrielle Quinn, a ‘see me’ volunteer, said: “I have found it so helpful to have people to listen and share my feelings with - people to stand beside and support me when I’m not feeling my best. My civil partner and best friend Vicky Quinn was so supportive when I have been going through a rough patch. She hasn’t been afraid to ask difficult questions and that support has really helped me. She’s so patient with me, listens when I need to talk and sits with me when I just need a shoulder to lean on.”

Activity for the campaign includes a new television advert as well as new print and radio adverts. The campaign will also adopt digital and social media activity.