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Wednesday, 22 August, 2001, 06:05 GMT 07:05 UK
Police produce mental health video
Depressed woman
Sufferers sometimes keep their problems private
A Scottish police force has admitted it has a lot of work to do to get it right when dealing with people with mental health problems.

Central Scotland Police acknowledge they have not always recognised the need for sensitivity.

They have produced a training video, believed to be the first of its type in Scotland, to promote greater awareness and understanding.

One in four people suffer from mental illness and the condition is viewed as a burgeoning problem.

We do need to understand that there are people in the community that need that extra bit of service and understanding

Chief constable Andrew Cameron
About 84% of those with an acute form of the condition cannot work, and in Glasgow prescriptions for anti-depressants doubled from 200,000 to 400,000 in the space of four years.

Central Scotland Police produced the video and said they hope it will have a positive effect on officers' understanding of some of the acute problems people with the condition face.

Not dissimilar to alcoholics, those with mental health problems often prefer to keep their illness secret rather than seek some form of help or advice.

Chief constable Andrew Cameron said: "I think the message to my officers in this video is that we do need to take time and we do need to understand that there are people in the community that need that extra bit of service and understanding.

"I think that is what this video aims to do."

Depressed man
The condition can force people off work

Police are believed to be working on the possibility of a card-carrying scheme, which those people suffering mental health problems could hand in.

It would carry a contact number for someone willing to speak on his or her behalf.

In May, a Scotland on Sunday newspaper report alleged stress was a severe problem within the police itself.

It alleged that 2,316 officers out of 7,000 in the Strathclyde Police sought help from the force's welfare unit over a 12-month period.

At the time a force spokeswoman said she could not comment on the figures other than to stress its commitment to the health and welfare of officers within the force.

It said 1,250 constables needed professional counselling for health-related problems at the unit, which is based at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Kate Fawcett reports
"One in four people suffer mental illness."
See also:

13 May 01 | Scotland
Officers seek professional help
25 Jan 01 | Scotland
Mental health overhaul plans
25 Jan 01 | Scotland
Call for mental health law repeal
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