Emotional film addressing stigma of mental health in Scotland’s Armed Forces community premiered at Scottish Parliament

On Tuesday 21 March, Glasgow’s Helping Heroes (GHH) of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, held an event, sponsored by Paul Sweeney MSP, at the Holyrood room in Scottish Parliament.

Patrick and Joe with their Peer Support worker, Alan, at Glasgow’s Helping Heroes event in Scottish Parliament. Photo credit: Chris Leslie.

The event celebrated the unique holistic service GHH, which a two-year long independent service evaluation, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and conducted by the University of Stirling, identified as “vital” and “life changing” to Glasgow’s Armed Forces community.

The report found that GHH produced a Social Return On Investment (SROI) of £6.63 for every £1 spent during the evaluation period. As the evaluation was conducted during the Covid pandemic, and included the multiple lockdowns where several of the measures in SROI generation such as employment and housing were effectively shut for all of society, the researchers estimate that in “normal circumstances” the SROI for GHH would exceed £11 for every £1 spent.

During the evening, guests heard from Paul Sweeney MSP, Chairman of SSAFA Sir Gary Coward, GHH’s Manager Rachel Tribble and FiMT’s Chief Executive Tom McBarnett.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the launch of short film “Courage” which addresses the stigma surrounding mental health challenges. The film focuses on the strength it takes to seek help and also how once you walk through the door at GHH you find a tea that “will bend over backwards for you” as one of the beneficiaries says in the film.

The film features two GHH beneficiaries, Patrick and Joe, who were amongst the guests at Holyrood as well as Alan, their GHH peer support worker. Once the film ended and the attendees erupted with clapping, Alan was heard to say to both men how proud he was of them. The bond between them was palpable.

More than 65 guests were in attendance and the evening was hailed a success.

About “Courage” the 4-min film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua5WnY_TPwk

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