A former lecturer at a Highland college who was told he could not share an office with a woman, later learned there was a fear he “might go mad with an axe” after being off work with a mental illness.
John Sawkins, 66, is helping a project which aims to improve the lives of Scottish students who face mental health stigma and discrimination.
He was diagnosed as being bipolar while working as a lecturer in the Highlands.
Following his diagnosis he was told he could no longer share an office with his female colleague.
Mr Sawkins, who is now retired, was an arts lecturer at the former North Highland College, now part of the University of Highlands and Islands.
He said yesterday: “Prior to becoming unwell I had shared an office with a female colleague. When I came back they told me new legislation had come in that meant a male and female couldn’t be alone together in a room.”
Mr Sawkins did more investigating and discovered there was a fear that he “might go mad with an axe”.
He added: “I can understand they would be thinking ‘What if something goes seriously wrong’ but the link between violence and mental ill health comes from ignorance.”
A new project, Activism on and off Campus, is set to improve the lives of Scottish students who face mental health stigma and discrimination.