Mouthpiece: Get connected to happiness

AS the Mental Health Foundation released a report showing that more than one in ten people in Britain "often feel lonely" and one in three would like to see their family more often, See Me hosted a visit to Edinburgh by the Embrace Life Council (ELC) of Nunavut in Northern Canada.

Executive director Lori Idlout spoke about the importance of connectedness in Inuit society. She told of how the influence of "modern" society had left a whole generation of Inuits alienated from their culture and from the land they had lived on for thousands of years. A sense you both live on, and are part of, the land and your people had been severed. It seemed the result was a fractured society, with high rates of alcohol use and suicide.

The ELC is more than a suicide-reduction initiative. It teaches confidence and resilience so that people can better deal with the upsets and strains life throws at us all. It seeks to harness the innate desire of young people to create and express themselves. It forges links across generations so that the young learn from their elders, and how to be comfortable in the world they inhabit.

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The final event in the visit was a presentation by Lori to bodies working in the mental health field in Lothian.

For us, the common theme was the importance of connectedness, with yourself, with what you value in life and with the people around you.

See Me has always said that, for people with a mental health problem, support from loved ones is one of the most important factors in helping them recover.

How good it would be to live lives which are connected and full – where we know who we are, who loves and knows us best, and feel a sense of connectedness with the world around us. Perhaps then we might experience better "mental health".

Suzie Vestri is campaign director of See Me, visit