College pledges to challenge mental health stigma


New College Lanarkshire has pledged to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination in partnership with Stigma Free Lanarkshire – the first educational establishment to do so.

Principal, Martin McGuire joined Chair of the Lanarkshire Regional Board, Linda McTavish in making a college-wide commitment to listening and learning from those who have experience of mental health problems to bring about real change.

They were joined by Jenny Hutton, Interim Public Mental Health and Wellbeing Development Manager of NHS Lanarkshire and Lanarkshire Recovery Network, in signing the pledge on Wednesday 31 January in 101 Park Street, Coatbridge Campus, coinciding with the College’s annual Health and Wellbeing Week, promoting all things health-related to staff and students.

Stigma Free Lanarkshire, in partnership with the national programme, See Me, brings people together to help influence change, and passionate about challenging mental health stigma and discrimination and determined to stop it. 

Fiona McGrory, Occupational Health Advisor at New College Lanarkshire, said: “Mental health stigma remains a significant barrier for many individuals in Lanarkshire, it can prevent them from seeking support and negatively impact on their quality of life.

“We are excited about developing our relationship with Stigma Free Lanarkshire further and look forward to expanding our range of support and resources here at New College Lanarkshire.”

Jenny Hutton, Interim Public Mental Health & Wellbeing Development Manager of NHS Lanarkshire and Chair of Lanarkshire Recovery Network, said: “We are delighted to be involved with New College Lanarkshire in working together to tackle mental health stigma in Lanarkshire. 

“College staff and students have gone out of their way to support the Stigma Free Lanarkshire programme during Health and Wellbeing Week by attending talks, signing individual pledge cards, taking part in a mental health quiz, through social media and in the many meaningful conversations which took place. 

“The commitment from the College, through their newly signed ‘Stigma Free Lanarkshire pledge’ is truly inspiring.  This voice of support can change minds, behaviours, and ultimately, lives.”  

New College Lanarkshire is encouraging conversation on social media around mental health through the hashtag #LanarkshireListens and has also recently launched a dedicated webpage on mental health support.

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