‘see me….now’ event

On Thursday and Friday last week, one of our advocacy workers attended the ‘See Me’ movement for change event that took place in Dunblane. The event was an opportunity to look at where the current ‘see me’ pledge is successful in tackling stigma and discrimination, and where the future direction should be heading. The whole event was co-ordinated by ‘see me’, the Mental Health Foundation, and SAMH. There were a variety of speakers, including Alan Miller from the Scottish Human Rights Commission and Gemma Walker, a girl with lived experience of depression who told us her story of recovery. Over 70% of people attending the event identified as having lived experience of mental health issues – we found this out by voting electronically with keypads at our table. There was a real mix of people from different areas of Scotland, and amongst those attending from an organisation there was also a huge amount of variety. This melting pot of people meant when we did group activities, everyone had a different viewpoint based on their own experiences. In our table discussion about changing behaviours that cause stigma and discrimination, we had so many ideas that we struggled to fit this in to the twenty minute time slot! It was very inspiring to hear so many different ideas and real positivity about what we can achieve. Over the two days there was a graphic facilitator, Graham Ogilvie, capturing all our ideas by going round our tables and listening to our group conversations. The below three pictures are posters from the day, and all come from what was said on the day

 

What I have taken from the event, is that there is a desire for change across all areas of mental health – from health professionals to those with lived experience. As Gemma Walker summarised eloquently in her presentation “stigma is stopping people from getting the support they need”. One of our last tasks was to write an action card, stating what our first action would be on leaving the event. I wrote: to challenge inappropriate language that I hear from friends, family and colleagues. I am very pleased that after a week – I haven’t had to

If you are interested in reading more about the event from others’ perspectives, ‘see me’ have started a blog and invited people to submit to their stories, views and thoughts from the event. You can find the blog here: http://seemescotland.wordpress.com/. Thanks for reading!