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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January, 2005, 07:12 GMT
Teens 'fear mental health stigma'
see me campaign poster
One in 10 young Scots experience mental health problems
Nearly half of Scottish schoolchildren would keep quiet about a mental health problem for fear of being stigmatised, a survey has found.

The poll for the "see me" campaign also found one in 10 young Scots have experienced mental health problems.

The findings are the basis for a new TV advert aimed at changing attitudes.

Campaign director Linda Dunion said: "Our survey suggests much work needs to be done to improve young people's understanding of mental ill-health."

She said the fact that attitudes get worse rather than better as young people get older was of particular concern.

Linda Dunion
Lack of understanding and fear of other people's reactions are major barriers to seeking help
Linda Dunion
'see me' campaign

Ms Dunion added: "Mental health problems can appear for the first time in mid-to-late teens and it is vital that they are addressed quickly to give individuals the best possible chance of recovery.

"Lack of understanding and fear of other people's reactions are major barriers to seeking help, which is why 'see me' has chosen to target young people's attitudes."

The "see me" campaign, which is run in alliance with a number of mental health bodies, found that although school pupils have a high awareness of mental ill-health, there is a lack of information about where to find help.

Of 488 school pupils aged 12-18 who completed a questionnaire in Orkney, Barrhead and Dunfermline in October-November 2004, 48% said if they were suffering from a mental health problem they would not want people to know.

It is the first survey to be carried out in Scotland of young people's attitudes towards mental health.

Groundbreaking campaign

As well as reaching young people through the new TV advert, "see me" is sending out tens of thousands of posters and leaflets to target young people across Scotland.

Deputy Health Minister Rhona Brankin said: "This is a groundbreaking and innovative campaign aimed at helping children and young people and those working with them.

"It is a vital step to improving young people's attitudes to mental ill health and their behaviour towards others and the campaign also highlights ways for young people to seek help and advice."

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