A new mental health campaign has been launched this week by a Midlothian businessman.
#SeenNotScreen is aimed at getting people off their mobile phones and into the real world simply by having a cuppa and a face-to-face chat with a friend.
The campaign is being run by Scott Newby from Bonnyrigg, managing director of NewbyCore Consulting, who recently shared his own battle with depression.
With most of us now checking our phones approximately every 12 minutes and one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, Scott is on a mission to get the nation talking, face-to-face with no phones in sight.
The aim is to help reduce the impact mobile phones are having on our lives, the stigma around mental health and also help people feel comfortable talking and asking for help if they need it.
Backed by some exciting names from the world of sport and business, including Olympic medallist Marilyn Okoro, #SeenNotScreen, will be taking place tomorrow (Tuesday), the day after Blue Monday, with people being asked to meet up with a friend, colleague, neighbour or family member for a cuppa, without their phone.
Supporting the campaign in Scotland, Radio Clyde DJ Gina McKie, a passionate mental health advocate, said: “I’m delighted to support the #SeenNotScreen campaign. We are all so attached to our phones nowadays, so this is a great campaign to highlight how much time we all spend in-front of a screen. I’m encouraging everyone to join in and have a cuppa with a friend.”
Afterwards Scott is asking people to share a photo on social media using the hashtag #SeenNotScreen to help spread the word.
Scott said: “As a man in my 30s, a husband, a dad and a businessman, who loves football and enjoys a beer in the local pub with my friends, it was very hard to show vulnerability and open up. That is why it took me 17 years from first being diagnosed, to now feeling comfortable sharing my story and openly talking about mental health.
“I decided to create this campaign #SeenNotScreen to try and get more people to stop what they are doing and just have a chat – whether it is with their friend, colleague, family member or neighbour, just someone they can talk to, who they maybe do already through texts messages and emails, but face-to-face.”
As part of the campaign, Scott has penned a poem entitled, ‘Put the kettle on mate’, which is a nostalgic look back on how things used to be in his youth, pre-mobiles, and highlights that there really is no substitute for the human connection.
Scott continued: “I am not saying technological advancement is a bad thing, far from it, but I think we all need to be better educated on how we use it, and the importance of still interacting face-to-face.
“I know the benefits first-hand of opening up and talking about my situation, which has really helped me, in fact since I came out with my story in September last year,
I’ve never felt happier and I want to help other people out there who may be struggling mentally to open up and talk - after all, you can’t hug a tablet!”
Throwing their support behind the campaign is Olympic medalist Marilyn Okoro, who has spoken publicly about her own battle with mental health challenges: “Mental health is so important for everyone because it affects us all. As an elite athlete, people expect us to be immune to it, but one thing I’ve learned on my journey, is that elite sport is not always as healthy as perceived! I believe it’s vital to look after your mental as much as, if not more than your physical health, and that is why I’m supporting this campaign.”
Also supporting the campaign is award-winning author William Hussey: “I’m delighted to support this campaign. We are all so attached to our phones nowadays and yet we actually communicate so little. This is a great campaign to highlight how much time we all spend in front of a screen, and so I urge everyone to join in and have a cuppa with a friend.”
For more information on the campaign, including information on mental health support organisations, visit www.newbycore.co.uk/seennotscreen