Grampian residents who are struggling with mental health issues are being urged to seek help rather than suffer in silence as part of a major new campaign.
The call comes as it was revealed that as few as one in 100 young men seek medical support with mental health difficulties.
As part of the campaign, NHS Grampian announced a special partnership that will see NHS Grampian team up with some of the UK’s top music stars and Aberdeen’s Enjoy Music Festival this summer to drive home the message.
The festival is headlined by multi-million selling artists Tinie Tempah and Example and, in addition to the support from the performers themselves, thousands of revellers will see special mental health messages from NHS Grampian displayed on the big screen throughout the day.
Julie Fletcher, who is Mental Health Lead with NHS Grampian said that while the campaign was aimed at all age groups they hoped the unique partnership with the performers would help would help reach young adults, particularly men between 16 and 24. She said: “In Grampian there is strong evidence that females are more likely to seek help than men, especially among young people,” she said.
“The latest analysis shows show that nearly 1 in 10 females between 16-24 report symptoms of depression compared with only 1 in 100 men in the same age group.
“Yet there were nearly three times as many male suicide deaths as female in Grampian during 2014. That makes it pretty clear there is a gap and a lot of young men aren’t talking about these issues or seeking help when they need it.
“We need to change that which is what the partnership with Enjoy Music Festival is all about. It’s a unique chance to let thousands of young people know about the host of help and support available in Grampian through the NHS and our partners.”
The campaign was kicked off by local hip-hop star Ransom FA at a specially arranged lunchtime concert at North East Scotland College recently.
Speaking prior to his performance, he said: “This is an important message and it’s critical people in Grampian realise there is help and support readily available when you need it.
“Some of the pressures young people face are immense. Too many people forget that - from new relationships, starting out on a new career, going through education, all on top of adjusting to adulthood, it isn’t always easy to cope at such a critical stage in life.
“There is nothing wrong with getting a bit of help to deal with it all and we are really keen to help get that message out there.”
Gill Griffin, Head of Student Services at NESCol said: “We are delighted to have been offered the opportunity to host this event to raise awareness of mental health. The College is committed to supporting our students and, in the light of a recent report by NUS Scotland flagging up the increasing numbers of those seeking help in this area, this is a great way to engage with our student population.”
Enjoy Music Festival Director Mark Lenthall said: “Being sociable, active and connected is a great way of staying on top of your mental wellbeing and we are pleased to team up with NHS Grampian to help promote this vital message.”
Julie Fletcher added: “We are grateful to the Enjoy Music Festival organisers, NESCOL and to the all of the artists involved for the support in getting this vital message across. It’s a fantastic opportunity and a partnership we believe is unique in the Scotland.”
The move is the latest step in the health board’s innovative Know Who To Turn To Campaign which provides advice and information on where to get help. The campaign website, www.know-who-to-turn-to.com, recently launched a new section dedicated to mental health issues.
NHS Grampian said it also planned to promote the Know Who To Turn To mental health message at a variety of community locations across the North-east including libraries, schools and GP surgeries over the coming months.