On 18 September everyone in Scotland over the age of 16 will be able vote on the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
At the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), we are encouraging our service users, supporters and the public to engage in the debate around the referendum and register to vote.
We are encouraging our service users and the public to get the facts on mental health, join the debate around the referendum and have their say.
Mental health is not just an NHS issue, but cuts across education, criminal justice, social care services, the economy, the workforce and beyond, so it is vital that Scotland’s mental health is part of the debate. We know our service users and supporters want to know about these issues before deciding on their vote.
As Scotland’s largest mental health charity working to promote positive mental health, campaigning for everyone in Scotland to have the best possible mental health, and supporting 2,000 people with mental health problems across the country every week, we know that people experiencing mental ill-health can often feel marginalised and excluded from elections and political processes.
SAMH is not taking a position on a favoured outcome. Instead we are encouraging our service users and the public to get the facts on mental health, join the debate around the referendum and have their say.
To this end, we have developed some mental health and the referendum leaflets with suggested questions to ask Yes Scotland and Better Together about promoting good mental health and supporting people experiencing mental ill-health either in a post-referendum Scotland as part of the UK or in an independent Scotland.
We have also sent both camps a full briefing on mental health – inviting them to consider their positions on key areas from employment and welfare, to suicide prevention and human rights.
We will also be hosting a hustings on 10 July in Glasgow. For details, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The debate around the referendum offers the opportunity for all of us to consider the society we want to live in, and how we make sure that positive mental health is the foundation stone of a fair, equal and inclusive society for all.