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Mental health drama to air across west Scotland

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Radio sketches are being created to highlight the issues of stigma and discrimination around mental health

Radio sketches exploring the realities of living with mental health conditions will go on air this month.

The thought provoking show has been created by, and will star a group of people, some of which have lived experience of mental health problems.

The radio sketches aim to highlight the issues of stigma and discrimination around mental health and have been created by the group, who have been brought together by Paisley organisation Advancing Community Understanding of Mental and Emotional Needs (Acumen), who are using real life examples of stigma they have seen and experienced to create engaging, thought provoking and humorous sketches.

One sketch is set at a school reunion, where former pupils make snap judgements about an old class mate with mental health problems, but have their prejudices shattered when she arrives.

The drama group know that many people are affected by mental ill health but when people don’t talk about it, it makes everything worse

The scenes will also highlight that people who have mental ill health, can and do lead fulfilled and successful lives.

The group first met in September, after Acumen received funding for the project from See Me, Scotland’s national programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

Many of the group have never acted before and the process of creating the drama has helped to build their confidence and wellbeing.

One of the shows stars, Margaret, said: “I’ve never done drama before. At first I was a bit apprehensive. Now I feel like I’m really starting to come out of my shell. I thoroughly enjoy it, we laugh and I feel more confident about getting up in front of people.”

The ACUMEN drama group will record the scenes in early March and they will be broadcast on community radio stations in East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and Argyle and Bute, from 16-31 March.

As well as the sketches the members of Acumen will be recording interviews to discuss issues raised in the scenes, to engage the listeners on this subject.

Pauline Vallance, Acumen development worker, said: “The drama group know that many people are affected by mental ill health but when people don’t talk about it, it makes everything worse.

“Through creating and sharing their scenes and sketches to a wide audience of radio listeners, the drama group will encourage the listeners to talk about mental health and in so doing, dispel the myths, fear and misunderstandings and help to end the stigma. “

Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, added: “Research shows that social interaction between people is one of the most effective methods of reducing stigma and discrimination.

“So we’re really excited to help fund the Acumen drama project, which not only brings people together in the group, but also interacts with the public through the radio sketches.

“We are passionate about ending the stigma and discrimination that is unfairly attached to having a mental health problem.

“To do this we want people, groups and organisations, like Acumen, to come together and take action and challenge the issues where they see them."

 

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