What do you think when you hear the word ‘mental’?
For Linda Fisken of Linda’s Ladies, it’s not offensive. It’s part of who she is – and she sees no shame in poor mental health.
Let’s face it, one in four of us have a mental health problem so where’s the taboo?
Destigmatising mental health is the key driver of this year’s Perth and Kinross Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival. And, as part of the packed programme of activities and workshops, Linda, who launched Linda’s Ladies in 2019 to support local women with their wellbeing, wants to make a noise about it!
That’s where ‘Let’s Go Mental’ comes in, a free disco taking place at 7.30pm on Saturday 6 August 2022 at Railway Staff Club, Feus Road, Perth.
Perth mother-of-two Linda attempted to take her own life in 2017 and was later admitted to Stratheden Psychiatric Hospital. On leaving hospital, Linda found community mental health services to be lacking the support she needed, so she launched Linda’s Ladies to support local women struggling with their mental health.
Linda said, “Mental health services are so stretched but I didn’t want anyone to go through what I’d gone through. What began as a social media post putting out feelers for somewhere to host a potential group session led to the realisation that there was real demand for a women’s support group in Perth.
Now, we get together online and share how we’re feeling. We’re not here to make miracles but we all get together and, by opening up and sharing, our lives are moving on and, in some cases, being transformed.”
So why the disco? Linda explained, “When I was lying in Stratheden Psychiatric Hospital, I did a lot of daydreaming and imagining better days. I love music and dancing and how much better they make me feel, so holding a disco is a fantastic way to celebrate who we all are, to break through the barriers and have some fun.”
And, as for the name? Linda added, “I suppose it goes way back to childhood when you joked with friends they were ‘mental’. It was never meant as anything derogatory. Some people didn't think I should call the disco what I did, but people who know me know it's for all the right reasons. I want to make a noise about mental health and this is the best way to do it!”
The evening will be kicked off in style with a comedy slot by award winning comedian Rachel Jackson. Rachel Jackson is an award winning Scottish comedian. She has been on 'The Stand Up Sketch Show' on ITV2, 'The Comedy Underground' on BBC Scotland and is a panellist on BBC Radio Scotland's 'Breaking The News.' She was in 'The Good, The Bad and the Unexpected' and can currently be seen on the BBC in 'Edinburgh Unlocked.' She said “I chose to get involved because so many people have mental health problems and, for years, I kept quiet about my own problems. But how is that gonna solve anything?! I feel empowered to finally own it and, in turn, could even make my own mental health better by tackling it head-on in a public way.”
Photo credits for Linda's photos go to D C Thomson.