The survey, launched in April this year, was designed to track changes in thoughts and attitudes since the last survey in 2011.

We were particularly keen to gather ideas about how to tackle stigma around mental health and help shape the development of a new support service. The report was compiled by Emma Perring and officially launched at our AGM in September.

Jacqui Clark, Team Leader, said “The survey report highlights concerns about mental health services and support available. That information is important for everyone that is involved with support service provision in Shetland and we will make sure the report is circulated to them.” She added, “It is also clear that respondents share our view that we should prioritise our new support service.”

The survey also provided an opportunity to review changes in attitudes and stigma surrounding mental ill health. The survey results showed a 59% increase in those who felt stigma was issue, yet a similar amount felt it had reduced in the last 3 years. Jacqui Clark said “That indicates there is clearly a continued need for us to improve understanding and awareness. I personally find it very sad to read comments from respondents stating, for example, that they keep their illness secret or feel they are treated differently. Negative attitudes do not change overnight but I assure you we will keep on trying very hard to improve understanding and acceptance.”