As the new year and another lockdown begins, See Me, the national programme to end discrimination around mental health in 2021, is urging community groups, workplaces, schools, universities and health and social care providers to get involved in Time to Talk Day, on February 4.
The programme spoke to 40 of their volunteers last year, finding over half (54 per cent) said they were worried about sharing their difficulties with others because everyone was going through tough times.
Time to Talk Day will get the nation talking about mental health, so people never have to feel embarrassed or ashamed to say they are struggling.
It will show how a small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference, and people are being encouraged to send Time to Talk postcards as a small way to start a conversation.
Volunteer spokesman Tommy Kelly said: “Speaking has definitely been more difficult during the pandemic because people have been going through a lot – and dying – so your problems seem miniscule.”
The See Me survey explored how the pandemic, lockdown and social distancing has affected the stigma experienced by those who live with mental health problems.
People said social media and national media had made them feel they shouldn’t be struggling when others were in a worse position due to Covid-19.
They said they were less likely to share, and that having more time to think in isolation led to them feeling shame and guilt.
In parallel, 41 per cent said the stigma they experienced from others had decreased.
This compared to 28 per cent who said it had increased, most commonly from family members, online, from health care professionals and in their employment.
Research from the Royal College of Psychiatrists found 43 per cent of psychiatrists have seen an increase in urgent and emergency cases following the Covid-19 lockdown, and that will increase following the pandemic.
For more information and resources, visit www.seemescotland.org