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Start the mental health conversation

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By Fiona Reid
Start the mental health conversation

PEOPLE across Dumfries and Galloway are being encouraged to get talking as research reveals that a quarter of Scots don’t feel comfortable speaking about their own mental health.

The research from See Me, Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, shows that there are still barriers to people speaking up about how they’re feeling.

To change that, See Me are calling for people to get involved in this year’s Time to Talk Day, which takes place next week on February 3.

It is the UK’s biggest mental health conversation and the day that friends, families, communities, and workplaces come together to talk, listen and change lives.

See Me say that speaking up reduces stigma, helping to create supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health and feel empowered to seek help when we need it.

Volunteer spokesperson Jamie Donoghue, from Dumfries and Galloway, shared his story of struggling with anxiety and agoraphobia since the age of 18. For him, a simple conversation was key to getting the help and support he needed.

Jamie said: “For the longest time, I didn’t really understand exactly what I had. I didn’t discuss it with anyone. The day that things started to get better was the day I went to my mum and said, ‘Mum, I’ve got a problem here, there’s something going on, I’ve got an issue.’

“So much of my life was controlled by anxiety. When I first spoke about it, it felt like a weight off my shoulders. The moment I talked about it, I also started losing the stigma over it. And every extra person I told about it, I felt a little less shame about what I had, I felt like I was taking ownership of it.

“For Time to Talk Day, I’d encourage everyone to have a conversation – even just ask a friend how they are. If you notice someone who’s maybe cancelling plans a bit more, maybe you’ll notice slight differences in them – quite often, there’s a lot going on under the surface. I found it quite difficult to pluck up the courage to talk. So I’d really like people to take the opportunity to perhaps not just speak to others if you’re struggling, but speak to your friends if you think there’s something wrong with them.”

To find tools to plan your own Time to Talk Day event, download an activity pack, request resources or check out what’s happening nationwide go to the See Me website.

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