Fight mental health stigma

Up to £4,000 is being offered to Borders groups who can come up with innovative and exciting ideas to tackle stigma and discrimination associated with mental health.

‘See me’, Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health, is calling on community groups in the Borders to get their anti-stigma ideas ready as this year’s ‘see me’ Local Grants Scheme is launched.

Up to £4,000 will be available to local groups in the Borders who can come up with fresh, innovative and exciting ideas to tackle stigma and discrimination associated with mental health.

This may be through sport, creative arts, dance - the possibilities are endless.

The Scottish Government-funded grant scheme aims to encourage local organisations to take a lead in changing public attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems.

Any type of project can be considered, as long as it is led by people with experience of mental ill-health or those providing care and support.

Suzie Vestri, ‘see me’ campaign director, explained: “We’re looking for projects that aim to promote positive images of mental health through mediums such as sport and physical health activities or working with a local artist through creative arts, song, music drama, and dance.

“Of course, these are only examples. We’re on the lookout for any initiatives that are new and innovative, celebrating diversity while sparking awareness of the stigma often associated with mental ill-health and proactively working to conquer it.”

Following the success of last year’s scheme, which saw 25 local groups get involved in fighting stigma - including New Horizons Borders who secured £4,840 to run a series of creative groups across the Borders using the arts to promote mental well-being - a second pool of funding has also been announced.

A ‘see me’ Equality Award worth £20,000 has now been pledged to celebrate diversity whilst tackling the mental health and stigma issues faced by equality groups.

Ms Vestri added: “See me’s vision is for a Scotland where all people with mental health problems are fully equal and included.

“The ‘see me’ Local Grant Scheme and Equality Fund gives Scots the chance to tackle stigma at a local level and make a real difference in their community.”

Information and entry forms will be available at the see me Scotland website from Monday (August 1). The closing date for submission of entries is 5pm on September 1, 2011, and successful applicants will be informed by October 10. For all information on how to enter, and terms and conditions, go to www.seemescotland.org