30th March 2021
In the latest entry to our campaign blog series, Anna Carr, our Senior Campaigns Officer talks about the power sharing stories can have, and why being a campaigner might not be as complicated as you may think:
Earlier this year, I took part in a Zoom call with a difference and with a purpose: a campaigner workshop bringing together mental health supporters, keen to learn more about our newly launched Scottish Parliament Election 2021 manifesto, Standing Up for Scotland’s Mental Health.
We started the workshop with an icebreaker, asking people: ‘What does the word ‘campaigner’ mean to you?’ We received a flurry of inspiring words and phrases such as: ‘power’, ‘strive’ and ‘change’, but one that stuck out to me was ‘someone who shares.’
Central to the Standing Up for Scotland’s Mental Health campaign, are the stories of people with lived experience of mental health problems. Our manifesto itself represents the voices of over 2,500 people who have shared their thoughts, fears and aspirations with us over the course of the last year.
Every day I feel privileged to be part of telling these stories, and I am grateful to each individual who shares their journey with me. Too often these journeys are difficult, so what strikes me is that, despite these challenges, many are still willing to come forward and share - because they know that their experience can bring about positive change for others. By sharing their stories, they are campaigning for change.
We know that many of you already share this vision, and we want to instil in you the confidence to Stand Up with SAMH. To be a SAMH campaigner you don’t have to know every statistic, policy and figure about mental health, SAMH is here to do that work. To Stand Up for Scotland’s Mental Health, all you need to do is share the belief that Scotland’s mental health deserves better. We’re here to support your campaigning journey, and can offer you resources, such as our campaigner toolkit, so that you have the tools you need to make real change.
The timing of this campaign is crucial, the Scottish Parliament election serving as an opportunity to call on our next government for renewed action, and a radical new plan for Scotland’s mental health. That is why we are asking you to reach out to your local candidates. By doing so, the MSPs that will go on to represent you will know from day one that their constituents are relying on them to make a difference for mental health.
The more SAMH campaigners that share their stories and desire for change with their candidates the better. After all, a campaigner is someone who shares.
Thank you to Anna for writing this blog. For more information on becoming a campaigner, the Standing Up for Scotland’s Mental Health, and to contact your local candidates, visit samh.org.uk/standup