Calum Irving, Director with See Me puts the spotlight on the importance of joint working to tackle the stigma that surrounds mental health.

Calum Irving

See Me and Fife Health and Social Care Partnership have been working together over this last year to tackle mental health stigma across various aspects of people’s lives.

The chance for See Me to work with the Partnership was great for us, as we are strengthening our focus on changing negative attitudes and behaviours towards mental health, within health and social care.

To really make a change, we need to work with organisations who have the greatest potential to enhance our reach and impact. Any change we make needs to be sustainable so we can work together effectively in communities facing the greatest inequalities.

The biggest event we have worked on with the Partnership this year is the simultaneous Walk a Mile events in March at Stratheden Hospital and in Silverburn Park.

The idea of Walk a Mile started with health care. Working with activist Chris McCullough Young we wanted to create a campaign which would bring people in health care together, to Walk a Mile in each other’s shoes, where people using the services and those working in them, could see each other as the people they really are, not the labels they have.

So it was fantastic to have the two walks in Fife, which aimed to do exactly that, and spread the vital message, that it is okay not to be okay, and mental health can be a topic of everyday conversation.

This message was also heard at our Pass the Badge event, where conversations on mental health were had and encouraged others to keep the conversation going.

We all have a role in tackling stigma and discrimination and together we can improve the culture around mental health, so its impact on every aspect of our lives, including where we live, learn, work and receive care isn’t ignored.