Castle Douglas High School

Achievement, Respect, Unity

See Me Campaign

Castle Douglas High SchoolPublished on Friday 23 May 2014

Mental Health - Why does it matter?

Positive Mental health is integral to everything we do, how we achieve, to what extent we achieve, interact, engage and communicate.

Good mental health helps you enjoy life and cope with problems. It offers a feeling of well-being and inner strength. Just as you take care of your body by eating right and exercising, you can do things to protect your mental health.

In fact, eating well and exercising can help maintain good mental health. You don't automatically have good mental health just because you don't have mental health illness. You have to work to keep your mind healthy. When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and environment, and the people in it. We can be creative, learn, try new things, and take risks. We are better equipped to cope with difficult times in our personal and working lives.

An innovative scheme to promote and improve awareness of positive emotional and mental health has seen great success at Castle Douglas High School. With the support of Pupil Support Staff, 5th and 6th year students have taken on a role of leadership in raising awareness with their first year peers about  positive mental health. In the past Senior Pupils Volunteered and attended training sessions delivered by School Nurse Sheila Paterson, PSE teacher Mrs Thomson and a representative of the CAMHS (Children and Adult Mental Health Service) team. More recently this has been delivered by Mrs Thomson and has now become a self-sustaining and rolling programme.  Equipped with their new knowledge and skills, the pupils then devise and present their own lesson plan and workshops to first year classes.

The initiative is going from strength to strength to ensure a future focus and presence of peer educators in school to carry on the good work.

Providing pupils with the opportunity to deliver a presentation on such an important issue not only helps to achieve a better understanding about the importance of Positive Mental and Emotional Health it also has helped to scatter some of the myths and has helped to de-stigmatise the subject too.

This ties in with the ‘see me’ campaign and the school signing of the ‘see me ‘ pledge and annually reviewed action plan. Further to this it has inspired confidence in all those taking part.  

see me ‘ Pledge - What’s it all about ?

Everyone has mental health. Some people call mental health 'emotional health' or 'well-being' and it's just as important as good physical health. Mental health is everyone's business. We all have times when we feel down, stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us.

There is a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don't talk about them. Many people don't even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it's healthy to know and say how your're feeling. Good mental health is not simply the absence of diagnosable mental health problems, although good mental health is likely to help protect against development of many such problems.

1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem at some time in our lives.  Three quarters of us know someone with a mental health problem.

The stigma of mental ill-health has been called ‘one of the last great taboos’.  People with mental health problems often tell us that the reactions of family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and employers is harder to deal with than the illness itself.

Stigma can range from being ignored and excluded to verbal and physical harassment and abuse.  81% of people with lived experience of mental ill-health told ‘see me’ that they had experienced stigma. And many people keep quiet about their experiences due to uncertainty about how people would react - 59% of people don’t talk much about themselves because they don’t want to burden others with their mental health problem.

Castle Douglas High School signed the see me pledge in 2011 in a bid to banish the stigma of mental ill health and bring about a culture of openess and support in the school environment.

See Me Pledge
Updated Monday 6 January 2014
Adobe Acrobat document [397 KB]

Useful Websites

See Me - ‘see me’, Scotland’s national programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, is seeking  6 volunteer members for the programme’s new Advisory Group and is specifically looking for people with lived experience of mental health problems or experience of caring for someone with mental health problems.

Respect Me - Scotland's anti-bullying service.

Student Against Depression - Students Against Depression offers information and resources validated by health professionals alongside tips and advice from students who have experienced it all themselves.

Living Life To The Full - The course has been written by a Psychiatrist who has many years of experience using a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approach and also in helping people use these skills in everyday life. During the development phase of the course, each module has been used by a wide range of health care practitioners and members of the public.

Young Minds - YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.

Well Scotland - Well Scotland is the national mental health improvement website for Scotland. 

Mind - Mind can help you make choices about treatment, understand your rights or reach out to sources of support.

Mental Health - Advice on maintaining good mental health.