Act now to make difference

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How can you improve your mental health? You can learn relaxation techniques, take regular exercise, eat healthily, or talk about your emotions. But right now, there is something you can do to improve the mental health of the whole country.

October 10-16 is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) is calling on everyone to take action.

We want people to tell us what changes they want to see to improve Scotland’s mental health. The timing is crucial because, right now, the Scottish Government is deciding on the way forward for mental health.

This is a major opportunity. Ahead of the last Scottish Parliament elections, SAMH started campaigning for a new Mental Health Strategy for Scotland and, in September, the Scottish Government announced a consultation on a new, four-year strategy. This means that everyone now has the chance to have their say.

We think it’s essential that the Scottish Government recognises that mental health is about self-esteem and resilience – it’s at the core of Scotland’s well-being.

One in four people in Scotland will experience a mental health problem at some point. The social and economic costs of such problems in Scotland are £10.7 billion a year.

Without good mental health, government strategies on education, poverty, employment and many other areas just cannot succeed. Good mental health is truly the foundation stone of a better Scotland.

But we can’t persuade the government without your help, so please visit www.samh.org.uk and fill in our survey. Mental health is fundamental to every area of our lives. By taking action this week, you can create a mentally healthy Scotland.

n Carolyn Roberts is head of policy and campaigns at the Scottish Association for Mental Health. Follow @SAMHTweets.