Teenagers in Inverness yesterday told of their experiences of the stigma attached to mental health problems.
The See Me roadshow at Inshes Church in the Highland capital featured representatives of Highland Users Group (Hug) and local charity Beechwood House.
Also in attendance were members of a new branch of Hug aimed at young people aged 13-25, known as Stigma Prevention: Education, Advocacy and Knowledge (Speak).
The group, headed by Hug member Emma Thomas, aims to provide a safe environment for any young person to come and share their issues, regardless of mental health diagnosis.
Members include Becky Giles, 18, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder aged 15 and struggled at school as the teachers either did not or could not find the time to help her.
After leaving school, it took her nine months to be seen by a psychiatrist at New Craigs Hospital because of the transition to adult services.
She said she experienced stigma directly when applying for a job as a carer last year. Having mentioned her condition during an interview, she claimed the panel “instantly changed their faces” before giving the job to someone with no experience.
Becky added: “I initially got involved in Speak because I was completely alone. I just wanted someone to give me a voice and there is nowhere else for young people to do that. It gives you a chance to stand up and be counted.”
Eleanor Ogilvie, communities manager for the national See Me campaign, said: “Stigma and discrimination can have a really damaging effect on people’s wellbeing and recovery. Right now, the three areas we are focusing on for tackling stigma are children and young people, the workplace, and in health and social care itself.”