Getting help for mental health

May 22, 2012, 1:15 PM GMT+0

1 in 5 Scots wouldn't know where to get mental health help, poll finds, as campaign launches

One in five adults in Scotland wouldn’t know where to go for help if they had concerns about their mental health, our poll for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) has revealed, as the charity launches its 'Know Where to Go Campaign' backed by well-known actor, presenter and outspoken sufferer of depression Stephen Fry.

  • 20% Scottish adults say that they wouldn't know where to go for help with their mental health if they had concerns
  • Young people were least likely to know where to go, with 49% of men aged 18 to 24, and 40% of women aged 18 to 24 saying this

The poll questioned 1,073 Scottish adults, while the Office for National Statistics states that one in four people in Scotland experience a mental health problem each year, which SAMH estimates costs the Scottish economy as much as £10.7 billion.

'Know Where To Go'

SAMH has responded to these findings by launching ‘Know Where to Go’, a new national campaign to enable the public to get help for their mental health sooner rather than later.

Know Where to Go will also campaign for a wider range of treatments and support to ensure that help is available to people when it is needed.

Billy Watson, Chief Executive of SAMH, said: "Mental health problems have an enormous impact on our society, so it is alarming that so many people in Scotland simply don’t know where to get help. People can and do recover from mental health problems, but the longer a person waits to get the help they need, the greater the cost to them and to society.

"And our research shows that even when people do seek help, experiences vary dramatically. Some people get the right support quickly, but many don’t feel they have a choice in their treatment, and more than a third feel badly informed about their support. That’s why we’re launching our 'Know Where to Go' campaign".

GPs at the front line of mental health

The campaign has also been backed by GPs. Dr John Gillies, Chair of the Royal College of GPs Scotland, said: "GPs in Scotland are often at the front line in treating people with mental health problems…this campaign will enable GPs to direct their patients to appropriate, local sources of support as well as continuing to refer them to traditional psychological therapies.

Working with patients to play an active role in their own care and treatment is key to achieving successful and high quality patient care. "

Getting help

Gemma Wilson, 21, who appears in an online video for the campaign, said: "My biggest obstacle to getting help was myself. I’d been coming in from school, laying down on the couch and either sleeping or crying. I was displaying all the classic symptoms of depression but I had no idea where to get help, or if I even could.

"Not all my experiences have been good, but when I went to the GP, I was so relieved to find out that there was something that could be done about the way I felt. It was so good to hear someone say that I wasn’t going to feel that way forever."

See the survey details and full results here

See more information on SAMH and the Know Where to Go campaign