It was a typically dreich and misty early November morning as I arrived in Drumchapel on my way to Cope Scotland. I found myself in a car park behind a pub and a row of shops. Finding a side entrance I rang the bell and the door was opened by a cheerful young man, Andrew – a staff member at Cope Scotland who took me up some stairs to a welcoming wonderland of warmth and welcoming colour and comfort – it certainly wasn’t dreich inside.
Cope Scotland offers people opportunities to help overcome or mange the challenges of life that can lead to mental distress and mental illness. My reason for the visit was to meet Jamie Hepburn MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health. Following the launch of Living in the Gap in March 2015 Minister had told VHS he would welcome the opportunity to see at first hand how our member organisations tackle health inequalities, and so we worked with Cope Scotland to arrange this first visit.
It was obvious that the Minister’s interest in mental health goes beyond his formal remit, as his genuine interest and easy manner put everyone at ease. As he toured the multitude of rooms each with different activities such as mindfulness training, relaxation, self-management and much more on offer, he chatted with volunteers and talked easily with the users of Cope. Keen to try out some of the services he can be seen gamely offering up the ministerial head for an Indian head massage.
Hilda Campbell, CEO of Cope said “Jamie’s visit enlivened an already busy day and we were all struck by his willingness to listen and ask questions”.
Lesley Munro is VHS’s Development Officer. If you think the Minister would be interested to see how your organisation are supporting people to improve their health, Lesley would like to hear from you.