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Men’s 10k to tackle mental health stigma

SCOTLAND’S biggest male running event is being used to break down the wall around mental health stigma, organisers have said.

The Men’s 10K, which takes place on Sunday [June 15] in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park, is being sponsored by ‘see me’, Scotland’s national campaign for ending mental health stigma and discrimination.

Around 80 per cent of people with mental health problems report to being subject to stigma or discrimination, which can lead to poor physical health. People with mental illness on average die five to ten years younger than the general population.

Around 3000 runners are expected to take part in the 10K, which was established by the Men’s Health Forum Scotland,to engage men in Scotland in healthy physical all year round.

Along with sponsoring the event ‘see me’ has a number of runners taking part and a tent where people who are interested in getting involved can come and talk.

A survey carried out before the run showed that only 55% of people would be comfortable telling someone they had a mental health problem.

Sarah McMillan, Men’s 10K event manager, said: “From when they are born boys are conditioned to be big, strong and not to cry.

“This builds a stigma around men having mental health problems and that feeling of not being able to speak can be detrimental for your mental health.

“At the Mens 10k we encourage people to get physically active, it provides the first step to a lot of men to getting their physical health on track.

“Having ‘see me’ there can be the first step for some to breaking down stigma, talking about mental health and getting men’s mental health on track. The two go hand in hand.”

‘see me’ Programme Director, Judith Robertson said: “’see me’ is Scotland’s programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination. 

“We are glad to support the Men’s 10k because we know that being active can improve your mental as well as your physical health.

“But we also know that men find it hard sometimes to talk about their mental health due to how they might be perceived.  This is stigma and it can lead to people not seeking help or talking about their feelings. 

“’see me’s visible presence at the Men’s 10k is a reminder that one in four of us experience a mental health problem in any year and that we are all entitled to seek help and get support to understand what is happening to us and to help our recovery.”

Mental health nurse, Phillip Haylett, who took part in last year’s 10K, used exercise as part of his recovery from depression.

Mr Haylett, 51, from Aberdeen, said: “Exercise was huge in my recovery. When I was depressed I couldn’t be bothered to do anything.

“It was hard, but it helped, exercise gives you a natural high.

“There is a difference in the way people view mental and physical health, there is still a lot of discrimination out there.

“We need to try and break that stigma down.

“If someone goes into hospital with a physical injury they are treated with sympathy, if you have a mental illness the reactions are different, rather than sympathy you can be shunned or excluded.

“For me exercise is key to my wellbeing and it shows that there is no difference between being fit physically and mentally, they go together and shouldn’t be treated differently.”

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See Meis Scotland’s national programme for ending mental health stigma and discrimination.

See Me is hosted by Scottish Association for Mental Health and the Mental Health Foundation, to build a movement for changing behaviour which will end mental health stigma and discrimination and is funded by the Scottish Government and Comic Relief.

We work in partnerships with VOX, the Scottish Mental Health Cooperative and the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival to bring about a meaningful change in behaviours.

More information at