Joint statement on the Royal visit to Scotland

23 October 2015

Scotland's mental health organisations and national anti-bullying service are delighted to welcome The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's focus on young people's mental health and wellbeing.

Today [Friday 23 October] The Duke and Duchess visited the Dundee Rep Theatre to take part in a workshop with a group of young See Me volunteers to hear about their experiences of mental health and their work to tackle stigma. At the theatre they also met performers from the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

They then participated in an anti-bullying session with respectme at The Corner, before joining a meeting of the Young Scotland in Mind Coalition chaired by SAMH and Barnardo's at The Shore.

Lynne Fox, 24, one of See Me's young volunteers taking part in the session with the Duke and Duchess, said: "Having personally faced stigma and discrimination after being diagnosed with a mental health problem at 16, I want to make a difference so other young people don't face the same isolation, fear and loneliness as I did because of the stigma attached to mental health.

"With See Me we have created resources for other young people, to help them make sense of their feelings in what can be a difficult and confusing time. There is no right or wrong way to feel, we all feel and have emotions and it's OK if you are not OK.

"Young people can and do suffer with mental health problems, age does not discriminate. There is no reason to feel ashamed, guilty or isolated, you are ill and can't blame yourself, you are not alone.

"Young people deserve to get help, but they need to know where to get his help. This is why we created the What's on Your Mind card, which we showed to the Duke and Duchess today.

"People as high profile as the Duke and Duchess speaking about mental health shows there is no shame in talking about it, you don't have to hide away and suffer in silence."

Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, said: "We want to see a culture shift in Scotland around mental health. This needs to start in schools so children and young people are having open conversations from an early age.

"To help young people recover from mental health conditions they need care and support quickly, that means having adults who can speak to them about mental health and help them to get the right care.

"Having the support of the Duke and Duchess puts a spotlight on these issues and it is great to see them put time and effort in supporting the young people to tackle mental health stigma."

Brian Donnelly, director of respectme, said: "I am delighted that the Duke and Duchess will join us to find out about the unique approach we take to anti-bullying in Scotland.

"We will share the findings of our Bullying in Scotland survey, the largest of its kind ever undertaken in Scotland, which gathered the experiences of over 8000 children and young people.

"The Duke and Duchess will participate in an anti-bullying workshop, where they will be given the opportunity to explore these findings further with young people from The Corner in Dundee."

Billy Watson, chief executive of SAMH, said: "SAMH believes that it is vital society works harder to create an environment where children feel safe and included and that their mental health is taken more seriously. A major culture shift is needed. That's why the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is so welcome in Scotland as it helps highlight this important issue.

"Early intervention is also vital-whilst children need to feel comfortable in talking about their mental health concerns, there also needs to be systems in place to ensure they get help fast."

Martin Crewe, director, Barnardo's Scotland, said: "The mental health of children and young people is an increasing aspect of Barnardo's work in Scotland. We are committed to working in partnership to improve young people's emotional health and wellbeing.

"It's so encouraging to have the support of the Duke and Duchess and acknowledgement of the work being carried out in Scotland supporting young people with mental health issues."

Lee Knifton, Head of the Mental Health Foundation in Scotland said: "We're very pleased that the Duke and Duchess have prioritised the arts and mental health as two issues they want to focus on in charitable work. Royal support can enable wider discussion of these issues in the media and by the public. We welcome their interest in addressing stigma and using novel methods like the arts to address mental health and distress."