CUPCAKES, tea and real life stories of how discrimination is
holding people back in the workplace is changing the way employers
across the west of Scotland view mental health.
The Hope Café has been visiting workplaces to start
conversations on mental health, while informing managers on how
they can make improvements.
However their workshops have had a twist, as they use the café's
own "conversation cakes" as a way to open up discussions.
Donna Barrowman, who founded the Hope Café, said: "The cakes
themselves although they taste delicious, may be hard to stomach
for some because of the derogatory language on them. However,
this language is very often the language we use when discussing
The Lanark based café are holding the Bun and Blether sessions,
after receiving £20,000 funding from See Me.
The sessions are run by people who have first-hand experience of
mental health conditions, who speak about their own work
experiences, including what helped them and what made things
Workplaces that have taken part in the sessions, including
Scottish Southern Energy and Health Working Lives, said the
personal stories of the Hope Café team changed people's thinking
about mental health.
The group are now working to take Bun and Blether in to schools
across Lanarkshire, while continuing to deliver the training in
workplaces in the region.
Following the success of the project, See Me are now looking for
other groups and organisations across Scotland to apply for their
Community Innovation Fund.
This provides money and support to projects which can tackle
stigma in workplaces, in health and social care, with children and
young people, in minority groups and in the general public.
We are currently looking for projects across Scotland, with
funding of up to £4000 for six month projects or £20,000 for larger
12 month projects which target stigma and behaviour change.
Mrs Barrowman said: "This project is very important as it is
opening the lines of communication and understanding for everyone
"It is sharing the personal lived experience of the presenters
to help participants gain a better insight into how it can feel to
struggle with mental illness and give them opportunity to ask any
questions that they may not have had the chance to ask before.
"Through this it is reducing the stigma and discrimination that
surrounds mental illness.
"The See Me funding helped us to gain resources and valuable
contacts with organisations and gave us the opportunity to get out
there and deliver the workshops."
Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, said: "The Hope
Café's unique idea has been effective in changing the views of the
people they meet.
"Funding community projects like this, which can directly
challenge stigma is vitally important for us.
"Through the Community Innovation Fund we can support community
groups like the Hope Cafe to target the stigma in areas they know
best, building a movement to tackle mental health stigma.
"To build this further we want to hear from groups and
individuals across Scotland who are passionate about ending stigma
who have an idea of how they want to do it."
More information and application packs can be found on the our
Workplaces wanting to take part in the Bun and Blether sessions
can contact Lisa Cameron on 07851823683.