Project tackles suicide rates among Polish

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​Project focuses on lowering suicide rates among Polish people in Edinburgh 

4th June 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Tackling “alarming” suicide rates among Scotland’s Polish community is the focus of a new project.

The Look Around project, run by Polish support charity Feniks and funded by See Me, will help to provide support to members of the Polish community in Edinburgh.

According to recent statistics, Poles in Scotland experience 20 suicide deaths per 100,000 compared to 14 per 100,000 for the rest of Scotland.

The project is looking to tackle a number of issues which could be contributing to the high suicide rate, including social isolation, difficulties with employability, a language barrier and misunderstanding of the country’s health care system.

However, they also believe that the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness means that many in the community aren’t seeking support.

We believe that the project will have a big impact on Polish community in Edinburgh - Barbara Wesoowska

To combat this, Look Around will train community champions who will be active among the Polish community, to identify, support and signpost people in need, towards the relevant help.

The champions will run workshops covering mental health discrimination, how to listen and talk to people who need support, how the healthcare system operates in Scotland and suicide prevention.

Barbara Wesoowska, from Feniks, said: “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.

“The workshops are in Polish so there are no language barriers.

“However many of the community champions speak fluent English, so they can raise awareness of mental health in both languages.”

The project is funded by See Me’s Community Innovation Fund, which supports projects to tackle stigma in workplaces, in health and social care, with children and young people, in minority groups and in the general public.

Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, said: “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. 

“This project is looking to open up conversations around mental health to reduce stigma, helping people to seek help.”