Photos: National Epilepsy Week Photocall

Last week I took part in a photocall organised by Epilepsy Scotland to mark National Epilepsy Week. As a member of the Cross-Party Group on Epilepsy, I’m becoming more and more aware of the issues affecting Scots with epilepsy and the great work being done by so many in helping to research and raise awareness of the condition. It was great to see so many fellow MSPs take part and to touch base again with Epilepsy Scotland, who are a credit to their cause.

DSC01603 1 DSC01607 Jean Urquhart MSP

Jean Urquhart MSP backs latest ‘see me’ campaign

Jean Urquhart MSP has backed ‘see me’s latest campaign urging Scots to get talking about mental ill-health and listen to what is being said.

‘Just listen. You could change a life.’ is the message of the latest campaign from ‘see me’, Scotland’s national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health. Talking openly about mental ill-health isn’t always easy but with someone there to listen, it could change a life.

This latest activity comes on the back of recent research which found that a sizeable number of Scots[1] (40%) would find it hard, or are unsure how to discuss or talk about mental illness, despite nearly two thirds (61%) of the population[2] being in touch with someone with experience of mental ill-health.


Jean said: “I am supporting this latest campaign from ‘see me’ because stigma surrounding mental health ill-health still exists in Scotland and is something we all need to play our part in breaking down.

“I hope the campaign will encourage people across the Highlands and Islands to open up and talk about mental health issues. We need to start talking if want to stamp out the stigma and discrimination of mental ill-health once and for all.”

Suzie Vestri, ‘see me’ campaign director, said: “If you think someone close to you might be experiencing mental ill-health, the first and most important thing to do is to ask how you can help, and listen to what they say to you.

“It’s not easy, and your help might not seem welcome at first, but keep asking how they are and listen attentively when they do open up. Only by talking positively and openly can we end the stigma that surrounds mental ill-health. I would encourage everyone in the Highlands and Islands to just listen. You really can change a life.”

Activity kicked off with a refreshed TV advert which features two friends talking about how one didn’t give up on the other who was experiencing mental ill-health until he opened up. This will be supported with new radio and print adverts as well as key digital and social media activity to start the Just listen. You could change a life conversation online.

Watch the TV advert here:

Get involved in the online conversation by liking the ‘see me’ Facebook page or tweeting #endstigma #justlisten.

[1] Figures from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1011 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18 – 20 September 2012.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+)

[2] Figures from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1011 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18 – 20 September 2012.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+)

Holyrood celebrates Polish Constitution Day

Jean has tabled the Scottish Parliament’s first ever motion celebrating Polish Constitution Day. Already, 17 fellow MSPs from around the country have signed up to support the message of friendship between Scotland and Poland.

Polish Constitution Day is tomorrow, May 3rd, and commemorates the adoption of the Polish constitution of the 3rd of May 1791, seen by historians as the first modern, codified constitution in Europe and the second in the world.

Jean’s motion looks forward to and independent Scotland learning from Poland’s example and adopting a written constitution as innovative today as Poland’s was, 222 years ago.

Jean said:

“There is a long history of friendship between Scotland and Poland, from the Scots who migrated to Poland in the 17th Century, to the Polish sailors, soldiers and airmen that defended Scotland in WWII. Today the Polish community plays a huge part in our country’s economic and cultural success, particularly in the Highlands.

“As we consider our own constitutional future, we have so much to learn from Poland’s example. The 1791 Constitution that we celebrate on 3 May was one of the first to recognise the people as sovereign, and we can take heart from Poland’s centuries-long but successful struggle for independence, first from occupation and latterly from Soviet domination.

“It’s an honour to be the first MSP to formally recognise this day of joy for the Polish community, and the great contribution these new Scots make all year round.”

The motion is titled “Recognition of Poland’s 3 May Constitution Day,” and reads:

“That the Parliament notes that Poland’s Constitution Day celebrations are held on 3 May; notes that Constitution Day was the first holiday introduced following Poland’s restoration as an independent country in 1919; recognises the cultural importance of Poland’s Constitution Day to the Polish communities of Scotland; understands that Polish communities globally commemorate the holiday in a variety of ways, including parades and town prayers; notes what it sees as the historical significance of the signing of the country’s constitution on 3 May 1791, considered by historians to be the first of its kind in Europe; welcomes what it considers the continuing bonds of friendship between Poland and Scotland, and looks forward to what it hopes will be Scotland celebrating its own constitution day after the proposed adoption of a written constitution in an independent country.”

Plockton Railway Station Plaque Unveiling

On April 26th, I was privileged to unveil a plaque at Plockton Railway Station to recognise a unique partnership initiative which has driven down anti-social behaviour.

Following complaints of low-level anti-social behaviour at the station by pupils from the neighbouring high school, it was felt the best way to encourage a feeling of responsibility and ownership was by bringing together a collaborative committee of those affected.

As a result incidents have been reduced considerably and the committee, which is made up entirely of pupils, has now gone one step further and adopted the ScotRail station. They now play a part in the station’s upkeep such as maintaining poster boards, planters and picking up litter.


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