Plans to tackle suicide in Scotland’s Polish community announced


See Me to spearhead campaign

PLANS have been launched to help tackle the “alarming” suicide rate among Scotland’s Polish community.

New figures suggest that suicide accounts for 20 deaths in 100,000 among the Polish community – much higher than the national average of 14 in every 100,000.

See Me, Scotland’s national programme to end the stigma of mental illness, will tackle the attitudes surrounding mental illness in the Polish community and around Scotland.

The Look Around project is run by the Feniks charity and will begin by assisting Polish people in Edinburgh. The charity says its aim is to help individuals away from their homeland in facing the problems of immigration.

Barbara Wesolowska, from Feniks, was quoted in the Herald as saying: “We believe that the project will have a big impact on Polish community in Edinburgh and will help to tackle stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues.” (Click here to read more).

One of the main problems identified for people seeking help is the language barrier. To prevent this, community champions, most of whom are fluent in both Polish and English, will be trained to spot the signs of mental illness and run workshops in Polish.

They will also be able to help with communication between people in need of help and healthcare professionals.

The workshops will advise people on what help is available and how to access it as well as trying to get people to be more open about mental health and advise people on how to talk and listen to people with mental health problems.

The project is funded by See Me’s innovation fund which funds community projects to end the stigma of mental health. See Me project director Judith Robertson was quoted in the Herald as saying: “We are building a movement to end mental health stigma and discrimination, and to do this we want to bring people together from all societies in Scotland.”

According to the 2011 census there are 55,000 Polish people living in Scotland. The project is looking for ideas from groups who may be eligible for funding.

Picture courtesy of Victor