ESTEEM Mental Health Peer Support
Who they are and what they do...
ESTEEM stands for Ending Suicide Therapies, Education, Employment and Mental Health. They are based at 38 Greenside Lane in Lanark, Scotland – and you might never hear about them again... but they provide vital, life-saving mental health support services in the area that I live, and without them there are people who would not be alive today. So I owed them one article, at least.
ESTEEM Clydesdale offer 100% peer support given by volunteers with lived mental ill health experience, which is what makes them different from anyone else. They are not supported by government, affiliated with any religious group or in any way judgemental... Here is a place that you can drop in and find a qualified therapist any day of the week, who is volunteering their time for the good of the community. They have three qualified therapists and pay for themselves by running holistic therapies on a Wednesday from the office.
ESTEEM was started because the three founding members were personally affected by suicide, and they wanted to do something to combat the growing suicide rates in Scotland. Last year we lost over 700 people in Scotland to suicide – and that might not sound a lot to the average American – but our entire population is only 5 million. You can quantify our suicide rates as a percentage (although I don't have the maths skills to work out what it is, answers in the comments all you maths buffs.) Anyway, the people at ESTEEM think one person is too many, never mind more than 700, and they have dedicated their time, money and more patience than I even posses to make this dream a reality.
Why the blog post? Well I've been volunteering with these guys for a while now, and I can't emphasise enough how important the service is. People come through the doors that want to be dead, and when they find help, a little comfort and a chat with someone who knows what they are talking about it can literally save their life. They run courses you can join up to whose members are all just like you, they provide a place to go when you can't face the normal world, they give people their hope back... and there are few things in life more important than that. Without hope we fade away, and we don't want anyone else to just fade away.
Why have I positioned this in the Mental Health Stigma category? As I mentioned before; awareness is vitally important to us. If we can stop the stigma surrounding mental ill health then people won't feel ostracised when they reach out for help - making them more likely to do so. If we can reach people before they hit crisis stage then that suicide rate will fall and we will have helped more people. Just by reading this article to the end you are part of the movement... and maybe one day we will lose the prejudice.
If you would like to learn more about ESTEEM Clydesdale, who they are or what they do, you can catch up with them on Facebook. They don't have a website yet but one of these days I'll be able to add the link in here. In the meantime, pop on over and show them some love and support... Awareness is everything, and we need all the help we can get.