Open Up about mental health

20th March 2017

VSA and SAMH launch an awareness campaign to encourage people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to open up about their mental health.

New figures from SAMH show that 98 per cent of people in North East Scotland think mental health is as or more important than physical health; yet almost a fifth (18 per cent) never take time to look after it.

The awareness campaign ‘Open Up’ is encouraging everyone in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to talk, listen and connect as talking is one of the first steps to looking after your mental health. 

Local issues such as the downturn in the oil and gas industry have led to a significant rise in unemployment across a number of industries. This has led to more people needing help for poor mental health which when combined with a cultural struggle with stigma means that encouraging conversation has never been so important. 

Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt, SAMH Chief Executive Billy Watson, and VSA Chief Executive Kenneth Simpson met to launch the campaign and to encourage people in the local area to Open Up.  

Billy Watson, Chief Executive of SAMH said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with VSA with this mental health awareness campaign.

“One of the largest causes of mental health problems in Scotland is not talking.  Figures show that people think their mental health is important but very often find it hard to start a conversation. 

“At SAMH we know that talking is one of the first steps to better mental health and this campaign is encouraging people in the north east to take action and start a conversation today.”

Kenneth Simpson, Chief Executive of VSA said: 

“VSA are delighted to be working in partnership with SAMH to bring this campaign to our local area. As a major provider of mental health services, VSA have seen a recent rise in mental health issues across many age groups and sectors, increasing the demand for our services. Our aim is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health across Aberdeen City and Shire, by developing an awareness of local issues.

“By bringing SAMH’s ‘Open Up’ campaign to the north east we are hoping to promote early intervention as a means to the avoidance of long term health issues. As well as promoting the benefits of opening up and talking to someone about your anxieties, local people will be directed to information, resources and how to access services that can support their specific challenges.”

Maureen Watt, Minister for Mental Health said: 

“I’m pleased to support this campaign from VSA and SAMH. In recognition of the importance of mental health, I was privileged to be appointed as the first Scottish Minister to be able to focus entirely on Mental Health.  Talking starts recovery – there is so much help available. I would encourage anyone suffering with mental health issues to take that first step of talking.”

SAMH and VSA are coming together to increase people’s confidence to talk to each other about mental health. Open Up will run for the next month.  

For information on how to access support in the local area visit our find help page

You can share your experience and encourage others to talk by joining in the conversation using #OpenUpAberdeen