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Richard aims to beat mental health stigma

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By Fiona Reid
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Richard aims to beat mental health stigma

A MOFFAT man has set himself a target to speak to 1000 different people in the region this month about mental health.

Richard Monaghan is working with See Me, the national programme to end mental health discrimination, to make the area mental health friendly.

The 62-year-old is a former senior director in the rail industry and was in charge of 2000 employees when he had a breakdown.

After that he would worry about going out into public places as he was concerned about how people would react.

He also faced a stigma and found a lack of support for people with mental health conditions. However, since becoming a See Me community champion he has been out and about all over Dumfries and Galloway, working to change the way people view mental health.

Through December he will be busy handing out badges and speaking about his story and mental health.

He said: “I think I need to do this, the stigma needs to be tackled. I love giving the badges out and speaking to people, telling them a simple story and hearing theirs.

“When I started doing this people in the town were uncomfortable talking about mental health, but I have noticed a change.”

The Moffat resident will be in Dumfries town centre next Saturday handing out 1000 See Me badges and speaking to everyone he meets about mental health.

He wants people to wear the badge for a day and then pass it on to someone else to wear for the next 24 hours, so eventually everyone in the area will have worn a badge.

When people pass on the badge they are also encouraged to share two facts – that one in four people will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime and of those who do, nine out of ten report experiencing stigma and discrimination.

On the day he will be joined by other See Me staff and volunteers to make his biggest push yet to improve mental health in the region.

Richard and the volunteers will be handing out badges in the Tesco Extra car park, in the retail park at Cuckoo Bridge, Glasgow Road, and in the town centre.

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