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Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Drive to combat mental health stigma
Campaign poster
One in four Scots will suffer a mental illness
Scots are being urged to "see the person, not the label" as part of a drive to reduce negative attitudes to psychiatric illness.

The See Me campaign is being launched as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

An alliance of mental health organisations have joined forces to launch the publicity drive, which is being funded by the Scottish Executive.

Woman
The campaign will tackle misconceptions
It is estimated that one in four people in Scotland will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives.

These range from stress and anxiety to depression, anorexia and schizophrenia.

Of those already diagnosed, two in five say they have been the victim of abuse or insensitive treatment.

The executive is hoping to break down the misconceptions with the launch of the See Me campaign.

Its aim is to highlight how common the conditions are and allow sufferers to speak more openly about their condition and treatment.

Negative attitudes

The campaign will feature a programme of national advertising and events which aim to challenge attitudes and help sufferers.

See me poster
Campaigners say change will take a generation
The campaign is expected to argue that many people do not seek help because of negative public attitudes towards these problems.

Emma Thomas works with a mental health support group in the Highlands called Hug.

The organisation has just completed an attitudes survey and Ms Thomas says change will take a generation.

She said: "It is not something that will happen in one or two years.

"It is very much a 10 or 20 year campaign that will be required."


Look, here I am, I am out the other side and fairly normal

Chris O'Sullivan
Chris O'Sullivan, 24, suffers from manic depression.

He was taken ill while at school and later when at university.

After receiving treatment he now runs discussions sessions in schools for students who may also be experiencing problems.

Chris said: "I think it is quite important to come back and say 'Look, here I am, I am out the other side and fairly normal. This is what it was like for me and it does not have to be that bad'."

A See Me website will be launched to act as a signpost site for those seeking information on stigma and discriminations.

The website will also list sources of advice and support in Scotland.

The organisations involved in the campaign are Penumbra, Scottish Association for Mental Health, Highland Users Group, National Schizophrenia Fellowship Scotland and the Scottish Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Craig Anderson reports
"The campaign hopes to change the public's attitude"
See also:

17 Sep 02 | Scotland
02 Sep 02 | Scotland
29 Nov 01 | Scotland
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