29th April 2021
The next instalment in our campaign blog series comes from Emma Straughan, Project Facilitator at Let's TALK, a SAMH project providing support to local communities across Glasgow and Lanarkshire. She discusses the importance of access to timely and community embedded mental health support.
A growing number of people across the country are facing mental health problems and are struggling to access help. Now, more than ever, we need a drastic transformation for mental health in Scotland. We need to refocus from reactive treatment of people in mental health crisis to a culture which supports proactive and preventative care.
In our manifesto, we’re calling on the next Scottish Government to ensure access to timely support for everyone within their own communities – this is exactly what we do with Let’s TALK.
Let’s TALK is a community engagement project that provides support to local communities across Glasgow and Lanarkshire. These areas were chosen due to the high levels of health inequalities. We work to raise awareness around mental health issues and to tackle stigma and discrimination, which often act as barriers to people seeking out help. We also connect people to other local support services they might need.
By being on the ground in communities, we get to know the people we support. We work on the principle that mental health recovery is as unique to the person as the experiences that affect their wellbeing. Recovery is about informing and empowering people to make choices that are right for them, by building on the assets within local communities.
Let’s TALK sessions are designed to create safe spaces for everyone to have positive conversations around mental health, learn from peers about potential triggers, signs and symptoms and identify what might be the best coping mechanisms. The sessions are also a chance to highlight the importance of self-care, to assist both in the long term self-management of mental wellbeing and for those who are providing care.
Fundamental to this approach is advocating the Five Ways to Better Wellbeing. Let’s TALK demonstrates, through lived experience of mental health recovery, that Being Active, Connecting, Taking Notice, Learning and Giving have a crucial part to play in looking after our mental health and wellbeing.
Let’s TALK is proving that a proactive and preventative approach to mental health support has huge benefits not only for the individual, their support network and the wider community as a whole but may even help to ease the number of people seeking help in crisis.
To learn more about Standing Up for Scotland's Mental Health and our calls to the Next Scottish Government visit: samh.org.uk/standup