Representatives from eleven faith groups in Lanarkshire have signed the “See Me” pledge to tackle the stigma that still surrounds mental ill-health.
The “See Me” campaign aims to form partnerships with companies and organisations across Scotland to take positive mental health messages into local communities. “See Me” is committed to empowering people to speak openly and confidently about mental ill-health, to break down the associated barriers.
Rev John Humphreys, moderator of the United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland, signed the pledge on behalf of the congregations that form the synod. He said: “The Synod of Scotland of the United Reformed Church aspires to be a community in which all will find welcome. The ‘see me’ pledge is part of this aspiration and I hope that the ‘see me’ pledge moves beyond Lanarkshire across Scotland helping all our communities to reach genuine inclusiveness.”
Representatives from six congregations in the synod’s South Link – Annan, Carluke, Cumbernauld, Grahamston, Hamilton and Stonehouse – attended the signing ceremony.
Members of URC congregations from throughout Scotland passed a resolution to sign the pledge at their spring synod meeting in March.
The signing of the pledge comes ahead of an event in Motherwell next week dealing with spirituality and mental health recovery. More details at http://www.urcscotland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Faith-in-Recovery-1st-May-2012-Flyer-Programme-Registration.pdf
Other faith groups that signed the pledge included: the Baptist Church; the Church of Scotland; Lanarkshire Hindu Welfare Association; the Islamic Education Trust [Cumbernauld]; the Methodist Circuit; Lanarkshire Central Mosque; North Lanarkshire Muslim Women and family Alliance; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Motherwell; and the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Suzie Vestri, “See Me” campaign director, said: “We welcome the commitment of Lanarkshire faith organisations and look forward to working with them to break down the barrier that stands in the way of people talking about mental ill-health. Mental health problems can and do affect people from all walks of life. It’s the reaction and support of family, friends and colleagues that can make a huge difference to recovery. We hope that the support pledged here will encourage more people across Lanarkshire to take positive action by joining ‘see me’ in tackling stigma and discrimination.”
Kevin O’Neill, chairman of the Lanarkshire Mental Health Improvement Partnership Group said: “We wish to see a Lanarkshire where we all understand how to look after our mental health, how to support others mental health and well-being and what support is available. By working with faith communities we are able to support faith leaders and promote positive mental health messages to faith communities and congregations. We are delighted that Lanarkshire is the place where the first faith communities in Scotland are signing the ‘see me’ pledge and joining over 170 organisations in Lanarkshire who have already signed the ‘see me’ pledge and who are making a contribution to the well-being of our communities.”
The photograph below, taken by Rev Derek Corner, minister at Hamilton URC, shows John (left) with Rev Allan Loudon, representing the Lanarkshire Circuit of the Methodist Church in Scotland.