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Dear Glasgow report: Mental health

On 31 July 2014, as part of The Tin Forest festival, the people of Glasgow were invited to attend Dear Glasgow. Here they were asked to discuss the burning issues in their city. The discussion groups were set by the participants themselves; Tolerance and Multiculturalism, Gender Inequality, Children and Young People, Work, the Independence Referendum, the Environment and Mental Health.

Here’s what the Mental Health Group discussed…

All the opinions expressed here are those of participants of Dear Glasgow and not necessarily those of the National Theatre of Scotland or its partners.

 

Action points

  • Art in Glasgow should play in the discussion and support of mental health and wellbeing.
  • We believe that art can give people a voice. But this art must be accessible; it must be affordable and have a sense of openness to all.
  • Creative and informative spaces (along the model of MacMillan’s cancer support spaces) that are open to all – a drop in resource for sufferers that removes the medicalisation of mental wellbeing.
  • Make better use of the spaces and resources we already have to build these community centres.
  • Build a more holistic and accessible model of mental health care.

There are simple and affordable measures that we can take to involve the community in improving the mental health of society. For example we can spend more time with the elderly. What are the small steps we can all take to support those around us? As a community we need to be more aware of those around us.

 

Contributor’s quotes from the discussion

The context for the discussion:

Some people have come to the conversation from personal experience while others want to know more and enter a safe and informative discussion…

We are considering what the barriers are to conversation, how do we overcome the fear of exposure and dealing with society’s stigma?

How to move forward:

“Changing perspectives on mental health – mental health is universal:

Argument that we must move the conversation beyond the one in four that suffer from mental health issues towards the perspective that everyone has ‘mental health’. We need to start supporting ‘good mental health’ in the same way we support ‘good physical health’.”

“Creating a better public awareness of mental health issues, and promoting conversation.”

Mindfulness:

“Creating places in the city dedicated to serenity and mindfulness – safe spaces for contemplation and reflection.”

Creating positive vocabulary:

“How can we discuss mental wellbeing without stigma? We need to re-appropriate the negative language to open the conversation.”

Addressing the lack of contact points:

“Those suffering with mental health issues need 24 hour, 7 day a week access to help.”

Intersections:

“We need discussion surrounding the issues of male mental health and need to consider how gender influences mental health and how to be aware of those issues. Also we need more awareness and research regarding class and mental health.”

Continued education:

“We need to be learning about metal health from a young age, and this education needs to continue throughout life.”

We need more recognition of the issues:

“We need to acknowledge mental health issues in childhood, throughout life and how to recognise symptoms such as alcohol and drug abuse.”

Performance as a way to address mental health issues:

“Can creativity and a safe space overcome stigma?”

“There is a lack of diverse support available: The support currently available does not reflect the diversity or longevity of mental health issues. We need to acknowledge that one size doesn’t fit all.”

“There is a lack of equality of care: There is also an inequality of support available for the vast range of mental illnesses. For example, some mental illnesses receive far more funding, research and available treatments than others.”

“As a society we lack a healthy work life balance: Support, awareness and treatment must consider all aspects of life. We need to find a healthy lifestyle and avoid exhaustion.”

“We need radicalisation of the workplace: Employers must be equipped and educated to help those suffering mental health issues. Health and safety in the workplace has a broader application.”

“There is a lack of education and support for carers: We need to acknowledge that and work towards a solution.”

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