Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Scottish Parliament

We apologise that for the first 23 seconds of Ms Patties opening statement there is only audio, before the picture appears, due to technical difficulties.

Lynsey Pattie, a volunteer with the "Scottish Association for Mental Health" told MSPs the "stigma of mental health needs to be addressed", as it took evidence on her petition ""PE1438 - Improving services for people with mental illness"" on 13 November 2012.

Ms Pattie, who began by telling the committee she was one of the one in four people who would suffer from a mental health problem in their life, said "the stigma for having a mental health issue is extremely high and that there aren't enough services of a high standard available".

She called for mental health to be featured more in children's social education and to be part of the curriculum, adding the "media is hugely to blame" over stigma for using terms like psycho, bonkers and loony in news or sports stories.

"Why not focus on people like Florence Nightingale who had bipolar disorder or Gandhi who had depression and anxiety.

"Mental illness doesn't have to be portrayed as a negative personality trait.

"With the right help even the most ill people can do the most amazing things".

The committee thanked Ms Pattie for her evidence and agreed to continue her petition

Ms Pattie also highlighted issues around waiting times to see a mental health profession and children and adolescents being treated in adult wards, rather than in specialist units.

She, at 17, had been in adult ward next to a fellow patient two years older than her and agreed with committee convener David Stewart, that it had been quite scary.

The committee thanked Ms Pattie for her evidence and agreed to continue her petition and write to the Scottish government, SAMH, the BMA, Penumbra and other mental health agencies and a selection of NHS boards.

The committee then took evidence on ""PE1439 - Betting and loan shops in deprived communities"" from petitioner Jonathan McColl.

Mr McColl told MSPs he had raised the issue because he believed the proliferation of betting shops and pay day loan shops should be stopped from opening further shops in deprived areas in Scotland.

He added he believed these shops were "targetting deprived areas" leading to saturation of them in city centres.

Mr McColl said he was not looking for legislation at this time but a collection of "robust evidence" first.

His petition called for a "review of the correlation between the prevalence of betting shops and cheque cashing/pay day loan type shops on our high streets and in our communities, and high levels of poverty and deprivation".

It also called for any evidence found in such a review to support the introduction of new planning powers for councils to refuse permission for premises of these types on the grounds of over provision, when supported by robust statistical evidence of high levels of deprivation in communities to be served by such establishments.

Murdoch Cameron from Balloch and Haldane Community Council also give evidence on this petition.

Committee convener David Stewart said the petition should be continued as there was "a lot of merit in it" and the committee agreed to contact the Gambling Commission, the Office of Fair Trading, the Association of Bookmakers and the UK government.

The committee then considered a number of current petitions on adult ADHD, bonds of caution, updating the Burial Grounds (Scotland) Act 1855, the adverse impact of DVLA local office closures, a national donor milk bank service and improvements for the A83.

Public Petitions Committee membership

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