Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2009 Competition

Friday, December 04, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |

The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, led by The Mental Health Foundation and partners, runs from 1 - 22 October 2009.

The festival film competition is now open! In addition, the festival this year are looking for film and song suggestions that make you feel good. Further details can be found at the festival page.

Details of the full 2009 festival programme will be announced on Tuesday 1st September, so please check back for event and booking details.


Schools see me Pledge Signing

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |

see me schools signing April 09 website.jpg

FORTY ONE secondary schools from Lanarkshire joined together to sign the 'see me' Anti-Stigma Pledge on Thursday 2 April 2009.

It will mean there will be more Lanarkshire schools signed up to the 'see me 'pledge than anywhere else in Scotland. By signing the 'see me' Anti-Stigma Pledge the schools are demonstrating their commitment to working with 'see me' in tackling the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental health problems.

They follow the excellent example set by seven other Lanarkshire schools - St Andrews High, St Ambrose High, Coatbridge High, Rosehall High, Portland High, Drumpark School and Willowbank School - which became the first schools in Scotland to sign the 'see me' pledge' on 6 October 2006.

The Lanarkshire 'see me' partnership, which works alongside the national campaign, is made up of Lanarkshire organisations who together challenge the stigma associated with mental ill-health and aim to eliminate the discrimination experienced by those with mental health problems across Lanarkshire.

One in four Scots will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their life and recent research carried out by 'see me' found that 81 per cent of those who do have been stigmatised as a result, with many saying that the stigma they experience is worse than the mental health problem itself1. The fear of stigma can prevent people from taking up opportunities, such as getting involved in community activities and applying for jobs for which they would be qualified.

The pledge signing took place at FirPark, Motherwell Football Club and was attended by a member of the senior management team from each school and Suzie Vestri, 'see me' Campaign Director.

Suzie Vestri said, "It is excellent that even more schools in Lanarkshire are showing their support in tackling the stigma experienced by people with mental health problems. Pupils, parents and teachers can all play a part in helping to stamp out stigma and Lanarkshire schools are taking a lead."

Councillor Jim Logue, Convener of North Lanarkshire Council's Learning and Leisure Committee said, "Lanarkshire's response to this campaign is tremendous and I'm delighted that a further 22 North Lanarkshire schools are set to sign up to support the 'see me' anti-stigma pledge.

"The 'see me' campaign is a great example of how people can come together to tackle negative attitudes to mental health issues. Not only that, but by educating our young folk on issues such as this we're paving the way for future generations to have a greater understanding of mental health problems and to challenge stigma and discrimination. I wish the campaign every success."

Councillor Mary Smith, Chair of Education Resources Committee, South Lanarkshire Council, said "It is very encouraging that young people are involved in the 'see me' campaign. I hope their involvement will educate the younger generation about the stigma faced by people with mental health problems throughout Scotland. A better understanding of the problems faced by people with mental health problems will go a long way in helping to eliminate discrimination."

Tim Davison, Chief Executive of NHS Lanarkshire said, "I'm delighted at the overwhelming positive response from Lanarkshire's schools to supporting the 'see me' campaign. Around one in four people in Lanarkshire will experience a mental health problem at some time in their lives. Most can and do go on to recover.

"Unfortunately, negative attitudes from other people can slow recovery and make problems worse. It is essential we encourage openness and understanding around the issue and prevent discrimination of people with mental health problems. We already have a strong local partnership working to make Lanarkshire a stigma free zone and by working with local schools we can make even greater strides in achieving this."

Following the signing of the 'see me' pledge, the schools will commit to working with 'see me' to challenge stigma and discrimination and promote mental health and well-being. For example, they will:

  • Promote the use of the Positive Mental Attitudes pack, which is a mental health resource for schools.
  • Set up poster displays around the school to promote the national 'see me' Campaign and the local Elament website (Lanarkshire's mental health website
  • Use the pupil and parent newsletters to promote specific campaigns and issues and encourage this information to be discussed at home.
  • Highlight to staff, pupils and parents World Mental Health Day (10 October) and associated events and information.
  • Invite mental health and well-being organisations to be represented on stands at the health fairs at other events
  • Invite comment and feedback on mental health and well-being issues from staff and pupils.
  • Offer staff development opportunities including Mental Health First Aid.
  • Provide a range of leaflets and other resources and make them available in the Library and/or other general access areas.
  • Build mental health and wellbeing into any Healthy Working Lives activities for staff.
  • Promote and refer pupils to the school counselling service.
  • Be aware of and promote the protective factors for mental health such as exercise, self-esteem, resilience and problem solving.
  • Have all pupil support teachers and departmental representatives participate in suicide and / or self harm prevention training such as SafeTALK or ASIST.
  • Have all pupil support teachers complete MindSET mental health awareness online training and encourage non pupil support staff to access MindSET training.
  • Encourage non pupil support staff to access MindSET mental health awareness online training.
  • Implement the North and South Lanarkshire Self Harm Pathway.

The following schools will sign the 'see me' pledge on 2 April:

  • Bellshill Academy , Bellshill
  • Biggar High School , Biggar
  • Bothwellpark High School , Mothwerwell
  • Braidhurst High, Motherwell
  • Brannock High, Newarthill, Motherwell
  • Calderglen High School, St. Leonards, East Kilbride
  • Calderhead High, Shotts
  • Calderside Academy, Blantyre
  • Caldervale, Airdrie
  • Cardinal Newman High , Bellshill
  • Carluke High School , Carluke
  • Cathkin High School , Cambuslang
  • Chryston High, Chryston
  • Clyde Valley High, Wishaw
  • Coatbridge High, Coatbridge
  • Coltness High, Coltness, Wishaw
  • Drumpark School, Coatbridge
  • Duncanrig Secondary School, East Kilbride
  • Firpark School , Motherwell
  • Greenfaulds High, Cumbernauld
  • Hamilton Grammar School, Hamilton
  • Holy Cross High School, Hamilton
  • John Ogilvie High School, Burnbank, Hamilton
  • Kilsyth Academy , Ballmalloch, Kilsyth
  • Lanark Grammar, Albany Drive Lanark
  • Larkhall Academy , Larkhall
  • Lesmahagow High School , Lesmahagow
  • Our Lady's High, Cumbernauld
  • Our Lady's High, Motherwell
  • Portland High School, Coatbridge
  • Redburn School , Kildrum, Cumbernauld
  • St Andr ew's High School, Coatbridge
  • St. Aidan's High, Wishaw
  • St. Ambrose High, Coatbridge
  • St. Andrew's and St. Bride's High School, East Kilbride
  • St. Margaret's High, Airdrie
  • Strathaven Academy , Strathaven
  • Taylor High Carfin Street , New Stevenston, Motherwell
  • Victoria Park School , Carluke
  • Strathaven Academy , Strathaven
  • Uddingston Grammar, Uddingston


1 National Hear Me survey which gathered information from 1,200 respondents about the way in which stigma affects not only those with mental ill-health, but also the people who support them including friends, family and carers, August - October 2006.


Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland:Policy and Action Plan 2009 - 2011 Launched

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |

Understanding the importance of protecting your own mental health could be key to reducing the number of people with mental health problems.

Good mental health can bring a healthier lifestyle, better physical health, better relationships with family and friends and greater productivity in the workplace.

That's the message from Scotland's mental health improvement plan, launched today by Public Health Minister Shona Robison.

Plans for mental health improvement include:

National marketing campaigns raising awareness of how adults and young people can promote their own wellbeing, aided by self-help resources and practical support

Awareness raising and help for older people to spot the early signs of dementia and get earlier diagnosis

Training for health and social workers on how best to promote mental wellbeing in children and young people

A focus on lifestyle approaches to help people achieve good mental health - help to stop smoking, be more active and eat healthier

Promotion of wellbeing in the workplace - focusing on the prevention of common mental health problems, retaining people in work when they experience mental health problems and helping those out of work, due to mental illness, back into work

Research to build a clear picture of all the key factors that lead to suicides and creation of a secure, confidential suicide register for Scotland.

Improve knowledge and understanding of self-harm and guidance for services to aid treatment and prevention.

Ms Robison visited the Thistle Foundation in Craigmillar, Edinburgh today to see how local projects are providing facilities like gym access and anxiety management courses to help people protect their own wellbeing.

Ms Robison said:

"We want to create a more successful Scotland with a thriving society that offers everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential."

"Promoting good mental wellbeing, reducing the occurrence of mental health problems and improving the quality of life of those experiencing mental health problems is vital to doing just that."

"Our immediate aim is to help everyone to understand how their own and other's mental health can be improved and create a step-change in how we, as a society, look after our mental health."

For a copy of Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland please visit


Suicide Prevention Week 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |

Suicide Prevention Week
7th - 13th September 2009

campaign-ad small.jpg

To mark Suicide Prevention Week 2009 in Scotland, a nationwide campaign 'Suicide. Don't hide it. Talk about it' will be launched. As well as raising awareness and understanding of suicide, this campaign aims to remove the taboo about this issue, by encouraging people to talk to someone they trust or phone a helpline - all materials signpost to Breathing Space and the Samaritans.

To raise awareness of and mark Suicide Prevention Week in Lanarkshire, a week of events will take place. Further details can be found on the Calendar of Events.


Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2009 Launched

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |

Copy of SMHAFF logo Lanarkshire.gifFrom Ayrshire to Aberdeen, Dundee to Dumfries,
The 3rd Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival Offers Something For Everyone!
1 - 22 October 2009

Now firmly established in Scotland's cultural calendar, the 3rd annual Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival ( explores mental health in its broadest sense.

Nearly 200 affordable events will take place in over 100 settings ranging from town halls to miners clubs, universities to hospitals, libraries to cafes and many iconic arts venues in Scotland.

From music gigs and dance performances, to theatre and literature, to film screenings and song-writing workshops, the Festival aims to excite, move, amuse and challenge audiences across the country.

The Festival has engaged artists, connected with communities, created collaborative partnerships and involved people of all ages from all walks of life to transform social attitudes towards mental health through the arts.

Details of the festival events can be found on the Mental Health Festival page.


Plans for new mental health unit

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |

Plans for a new unit to modernise acute mental health care for people from North Lanarkshire and Clydesdale in South Lanarkshire have taken an important step forward.

An initial agreement for the development was approved by the NHS Lanarkshire Board on 26 August 2009. It will now be submitted to the Scottish Government Health Directorate's Capital Investment Group for consideration.

Acute mental health care is for people who require a stay in hospital due to their mental health condition. It is usually only required for a short period of time. The new 130-bedded unit will be based at either MonklandsHospital or Wishaw GeneralHospital. It will provide the best possible care for people who require acute mental health care by bringing together a wide range of expertise, treatment and diagnostic options on one site in an improved, purpose-built environment.

The facility will be for people living in the North Lanarkshire catchment area - including Cumbernauld, Kilsyth, the Northern Corridor, Coatbridge, Airdrie, Motherwell, Bellshill and Wishaw - as well as people living in Clydesdale in South Lanarkshire. The unit will allow NHS Lanarkshire to provide local intensive psychiatric care and in‑patient addiction treatment. This will reduce the need for patients to be referred to other areas or to the independent sector for treatment.

Colin Sloey, Director of North Lanarkshire Community Health Partnership, NHS Lanarkshire, said: "This development is a key component of the Lanarkshire Mental Health Strategy, which was developed in partnership with patients, carers, North Lanarkshire Council and South Lanarkshire Council.

"We are committed to providing safe and effective in-patient care for a group of patients who are among the most vulnerable in our population. This initial agreement is an important step towards our goal to providing a first class care and treatment unit for people who require acute mental health care by 2013.

"NHS Lanarkshire is also enhancing community mental health services so we provide support closer to people's homes and, where possible, reduce the need for them to be admitted to hospital."

The new unit will be developed as a mental health campus offering in-patient care and treatment to the following care groups:

  • Adult acute in-patient service (for people aged 16 - 64)
  • Older people's acute in-patient service (for people aged 65 and over)
  • Intensive psychiatric care unit (IPCU) for patients across Lanarkshire
  • Addiction in-patient unit (Lanarkshire wide service for people aged 16 - 64).

It will include a modern treatment facility for all of the above care groups to help provide the best opportunity for recovery.

Dr Arturo Langa, Acting Associate Medical Director (Mental Health & Learning Disabilities) for NHS Lanarkshire, said: "In Lanarkshire, one in four people will have a mental health condition at some point in their lives. Some of them will require hospital-based treatment as a result. People with mental health conditions can and do recover. The new mental health acute inpatient unit is an important facility that will help give them the greatest chance of doing so."

NHS Lanarkshire will involve patients, carers, staff and other stakeholders in the process of looking at the preferred location for the new unit. This process will begin after the initial agreement has been considered by the Scottish Government.

In North Lanarkshire, adult acute mental health inpatient care is currently provided at MonklandsHospital in Airdrie and Wishaw GeneralHospital. Old age acute mental health inpatient care is provided at Wishaw GeneralHospital, CoathillHospital in Coatbridge and Airbles Road Centre in Motherwell. The new unit will bring together the acute mental health beds provided at each of these sites.

As well as the benefits to patients of bringing together these services on one site, it will also ensure that NHS Lanarkshire can sustain 24-hour psychiatric medical cover across inpatient services.

Changes in medical training and the European Working Time Directive impact greatly on the future medical workforce availability and work patterns. As a result, the way acute mental health services are currently delivered is not sustainable in the medium to longer term.

In South Lanarkshire, acute mental health care will continue to be provided at HairmyresHospital and at UdstonHospital, which provides old age acute mental health inpatient care.


Let's kick the taboo of suicide out of Lanarkshire

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: , , |

DSC00991 X1SAMH small.jpg


Motherwell FC have once again shown their outstanding commitment to using their profile to team up with Choose Life, North Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire, during suicide prevention week, to support the national suicide prevention message - 'Suicide. Don't hide it. Talk about it'.

Choose Life North Lanarkshire is linking with Motherwell FC and Rangers FC during the build up to their high profile televised match on Saturday 12th September. On match day, advertising space will be donated, information will be given out to supporters and there will be announcements throughout the game.

Significantly, both sets of players will wear black armbands in memory of all those who have lost their lives to suicide. At half-time, Motherwell will be presented with an award recognising their contribution to mental health improvement and suicide prevention.

Motherwell Manager Jim Gannon said: "I am delighted to continue Motherwell's commitment as a community club in Lanarkshire. I was saddened to hear that over two people per day die by suicide in Scotland. Each life lost to suicide is a tragedy. One suicide represents a lost life, lost talent, a lost mother or father, brother, sister, son or daughter, and a wound that does not easily heal in those who are left behind."

However, there is a positive message to share. We know that if we remove the taboo and make mental health problems and thoughts of suicide easier to talk about then we will save lives, particularly for men. We think that it is important to show that suicide can be talked about openly and that people can find help and alternatives to ending their lives. That's why the 'Suicide. Don't hide it. Talk about it' message is so important"

Greg Burgess, Choose Life Co-ordinator North Lanarkshire said, "There is a link between physical exercise and good mental health and we hope to encourage people to take positive steps to look after their own and others mental health. Working with Motherwell helps us share this message."

The suicide prevention message is also being taken around the streets of Lanarkshire through advertising on local buses. Michele Dowling, Choose Life Co-ordinator, South Lanarkshire said, "Working with our local buses helps us to take the suicide prevention message into the communities where people live, learn and work. We aim to reach as many people as possible. Suicide prevention is everyone' business."

All of us can make a difference. Most people thinking about suicide will try to let someone know. If you think someone you care about is considering suicide. You can help. Be ALERT

Ask if they have thought about suicide
Listen and show you care
Encourage them to get help
Right now
Tell someone. You can't do it alone.

If you or some you know needs help please speak to your GP or contact the following agencies who will be glad to help:

Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87 (free to call 6pm -2am and weekends)
Samaritans 08457 90 90 90 (24hr service)
Childline 0800 1111 (free 24hr service)
National Debt Line 0808 808 4000
Or for mental health information in Lanarkshire visit:


To win a choose life t-shirt signed by the Motherwell team or the Rangers team please e-mail the answer to the following question to with your contact details indicating whether you wish to win the Rangers or Motherwell shirt. Entries must be in by Friday 2nd October 2009.

Which ex-Rangers captain managed Motherwell in 2005?


Lanarkshire Playing Host To Mental Health Improvement And Mental Health Service Colleagues From Finland 16 -21st October 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |


In April 2009 the Mental Health Division of the ScottishGovernment played host to Dr. Eija Stengard(see biography below) from the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland. Eija was in Scotland to see the Scottish Government's work on wellbeing. During her visit I had the pleasure of sharing our work with Eija who was particularly interested in how national policy translates through to regional action.

During our meeting Eija had asked about the possibility of visiting Lanarkshire with some of her colleagues at some stage during the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival in October 2009 to share our work and experience and establish an ongoing collaboration. Eija has just confirmed that a delegation of 4 colleagues(including Eija) from Finland will be visiting Scotland and Lanarkshire from the evening of Friday 16th Octobe rto the afternoon of Wednesday 21st October.

This is clearly an excellent opportunity for the Lanarkshire mental health and health improvement community to learn about the Finnish experience and build an alliance which will assist us in our work into the future.

Our four esteemed visitors are:

Eija Stengard(Ms)

Eijua Stengard has a PhD in Psychology and is adjunct professor at the University if Tampere in Finland.She has worked about ten years as a researcher studying th outcome of new schizophrenia patients and detection of depression in primary health care. Her main interest has been in family work with caregivers.

Esa Nordling(Mr.)

Profession: Psychologist(PhD)
Organisation/Unit: National Institute for Health and Welfare/Mental Health Promotion work: Development Manager.
Interests of work: Mental health promotion and prevention of mental health problems; rehabilitation of schizophrenia; psychoeducation.

Minna Laitila(Ms)

I have worked ten years as a nurse mainly within psychiatric rehabilitation.
Before starting in the Ostrobothnia Project I worked three years as a teacher in a vocational school providing education for practical nurses. Within the Ostrobothnia Project my main role is to support municipalities and regions in the drafting of strategies to address issues concerning mental health, alcohol and drugs. Strategy work is a multi-professional collaboration, and during that work we try to take into account mental health promotion, prevention and reduction ofalcohol- and drug-related harm and development of services. I am also the team leader in the South Ostrobothnia team.

Antero Laitila(Mr.)

Mainly I am working at Hospital district of South Ostrobothnia and leading its Psychiatric Department(consisting of outpatient care and hospital units).
Until 31.10.2009 I also work as the leader of Ostrobothnia Project and after that I will continue to work with other things within this project.
I have a PhD in medicine and I have specialised in psychiatry and family medicine.


A Positive Frame of Mind 2009 - Judge the 'see me' photography competition

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |

'see me' …. I'm a photographer.

We use photos to capture the most important moments in our lives: family occasions; time spent with friends; images of those closest to us.

'see me' is Scotland's national campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination. We know that minds are changed with pictures as much as words. Our annual photo competition brings together your pictures alongside your thoughts about mental health and well-being.

The entries are all in and the local exhibitions have started. There will be three winners selected from each local exhibition and these will be entered into the nation final.

We are looking for your help to judge the Lanarkshire entries!

Let us know your favourite photo by emailing:

becreative.jpg betheremates.jpg dropbeats.jpg

into the unkown.jpg jumpingforjoy.jpg liz01.jpg

liz02.jpg liz03.jpg Liz04.jpg

liz05.jpg liz06.jpg liz07.jpg

liz08.jpg liz09.jpg peace.jpg

standsout.jpg stockcar.jpg thereforyou.jpg

timetomyself.jpg tomas my friend.jpg


Robison takes Steps for Stress

Thursday, November 26, 2009 By: admin | Tagged: |

Simple steps to help stressed Scots tackle tension

Scots are being encouraged to take simple steps to tackle their everyday stress to help avoid developing more serious problems, as part of a Scottish Government campaign launched today.

Steps for Stress aims to help people recognise the signs of everyday stress, and offers advice and information on how to take action to help stop it in its tracks - such as being more active, talking to someone or helping other people.

Three quarters of people surveyed in government campaign research admit to experiencing stress, but only one in four feels happy to talk about it.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison launched Steps for Stress this morning by taking part in a meditation walk at the Cambuslang and Rutherglen Community Health Initiative (CHI).

Ms Robison said:
"Stress can affect everyone. We all have busy lives today, juggling work and family commitments, but by knowing how to spot the signs we can help ourselves feel better.

"If the causes and symptoms of stress are allowed to snowball, they can risk leading to other problems like unhealthy eating, drinking too much or heavy smoking.

"Steps for Stress shows us that even small steps like going for a walk - perhaps through an organisation like CHI - talking to a friend or doing something for someone else can make a big difference to how we feel."

One of the highlights of the campaign will be a six-part prime-time STV series, Make Me Happier, sponsored by the Scottish Government and presented by Lorraine Kelly and Angus Purden, presenter of the People's Postcode Lottery.

Ms Robison added:
"Using a TV series is an exciting new way to help spread the message, and together with the rest of the Steps for Stress campaign we hope it will make a real difference to people's wellbeing."

Fifty-four year old Christine Muirhead has benefited from the stress management techniques promoted at CHI. A stressful work life, unemployment and several family bereavements left the mum-of-two stressed, anxious and feeling like there was no point getting out of bed in the morning.

She said:
"My self esteem and confidence were really low and I basically lost interest in life. But I've learned that simple things like taking time to relax do make a difference. I also realised that I can't sort everything out at once and that setting myself small goals is better than rushing in.

"I now volunteer with a local fruit and veg barra, which offers local mums-to-be cheap fruit and veg so they can keep healthy during their pregnancy and after they've had their babies. I feel like I'm helping people and that makes me feel good about myself."

RCN Scotland Director Theresa Fyffe said:
"Stress is a very relevant issue right now. The combination of economic recession, winter, and the upcoming Christmas season will place pressure on many individuals and families over the next few months.

"Nurses and other health professionals - particularly those working in community and primary care - have a crucial role to play in raising awareness of the effects of stress, and in supporting people to identify and respond to their own signs of stress before more serious health issues result."

Peter Rice from the Royal College of Psychiatrists said:
"The Royal College of Psychiatrists is delighted to support the Steps for Stress campaign. Everyone needs to think about how to achieve and keep good mental health. Taking time to understand the demands we face, identifying and coping with problems better, using support from those close to us and using outside help when we need it are important steps in maintaining our ability to live life to its fullest."

Dr Ken Lawton, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland, said:
"Stress can affect all people, from all walks of life and it can have a very negative impact, affecting our physical and mental health.

"This can result in unhealthy behaviours such as drinking too much alcohol, smoking, inactivity and poor diet. This new campaign will offer individuals an opportunity to feel better and more confident about tackling issues or problems they may have. It will also help them to develop new skills to prevent stress in the future."

Dr Sally Winning, Deputy Chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said:
"Stress can open the door to a whole host of physical and mental problems that can affect individuals in the short and long term so it is important that people know how to recognise when they are stressed and to learn how to cope with stress in a healthy way.

"BMA Scotland therefore welcomes and supports the 'Steps for Stress' campaign which offers practical ideas that people can easily incorporate into their day to day lives."

Further information can be found on the Steps for Stress website


Web design by Screenmedia