Reflecting on 25 years of support

19th March 2020

Dave Ross started working for SAMH 25 years ago, and is now Senior Horticulture Practitioner at our Evergreen Service in Fife.

Here he reflects on what’s changed over that time, and his hopes for the future.

“Just over 25 years ago a younger, more fresh faced me started a new job.

“It was a horticulture training post with SAMH, the Scottish Association for Mental Health – a not that well know at the time mental health charity. Funded under the Training for Work scheme, it aimed to help folk gain skills and become more employable.

“I had very little knowledge of working with people with mental health issues. It was through my clients that I learned about their experiences and diagnosis. I often say that everything I know about schizophrenia I have learnt from those with the illness.

“Over the years I’ve had several different posts with SAMH as things have evolved. The variety has kept me feeling fresh, and fortunately I haven’t felt like I needed to seek employment elsewhere. I’ve seen SAMH change to the influential entity it is today, and I’m proud to be part of this change.

“I’ve also seen a slow change in how mental health has been viewed by the population, and how people can now be more open about their mental health rather than ashamed. But as a nation, we still have a fair bit to do as well. We need to have the will to do this for a better future.

“I believe that to achieve this the political, social, and moral will of everyone who talks about mental health needs to work together – putting the same emphasis on mental health as we do on physical. If we can do this, then one day there will ultimately be no need for the service I work for.

“In reaching this landmark of 25 years, I’m reflecting on all those I’ve worked alongside, and all of the clients I have worked with. I know I’ve been doing a worthwhile job that has impacted on hundreds of lives, in one way or another, and I’m truly humbled by the opportunity I took at the age of 28.”