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Scots reluctant to speak about mental health

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Nearly half of the people in Scotland would not want to discuss a mental health condition, a survey by the Scottish Government has discovered.

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey showed that 47 per cent of the 1500 respondents said that if they had a mental health condition they wouldn't want anyone to know. In 2008, the last time this was surveyed, 44 per cent of people thought this way. However, out of the 26 per cent of respondents who reported having a mental health condition, 85 per cent said they had spoken to someone about it.

Other findings from the survey revealed the social impact of a mental health condition. Thirty seven per cent had experienced negative effects on socialising as a result of their mental health – an increase from 23 per cent in 2008. It also found that 22 per cent of respondents had avoided socialising because they feared how they would be treated, and 13 per cent had been discouraged from attending by someone else. Alarmingly, 22 per cent of respondents said they would not interact with someone with schizophrenia.

The Scottish Government launched the See Me campaign to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health conditions in April 2014. The campaign has hosted 22 events since its inception, and supported 24 projects around Scotland.

Minister for public health in Scotland Michael Matheson said: 'This survey gives us some invaluable information about attitudes towards mental health, which helps us to better tackle the prejudices and misconceptions which still exist. It shows us that unfortunately there is still some stigma surrounding mental . . . The best way to start to deal with a mental health problem is to talk about it. Also, if more people talk about their problems this will help to spread greater understanding and tolerance. This could be talking it through with a friend or family member, or going to your GP. There are treatments available that will help you to deal with your problems.'

The Scottish Government has just launched an anti-stigma campaign called 'People like you will end mental health stigma and discrimination'.

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