Am I or am I not?

Man give himself name of psychiatric hospital to combat stigma

A man has changed his name by deed poll to that of a former psychiatric hospital to in a bid to help combat the stigma associated with mental health.

A guitarist formerly known as Brendan Curran is now Craig Dunain – the name of the former psychiatric hospital in Inverness, Scotland.

Mr Dunain is launching a website and blog to try and help bring the issue up the national agenda, the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald newspaper reported

Mr Dunain became interested in mental health while studying physical education at Telford College in Edinburgh.

“They taught a really quite revolutionary disability awareness course while I was there,” he told the newspaper.

Mr Dunain said everyone, at some time or another, experienced stress.

“When I worked in Edinburgh I came into contact with musicians who had experienced severe stress, even to the point of breakdown,” he said.

“After a period of rest it was found that many people, even those who had previously considered themselves as friends, stayed away and were no longer keen to be involved with the person.”

The musician said he believes the stigma surrounding mental health treatment deters many from requesting help and contributes to the high suicide rate among Highland men.

Mr Dunain said he hopes his name change would remove some of that stigma and encourage people to be more understanding of people who need to ask for help.

“If you look at people who are homeless you will find that 65 to 70 per cent have had some sort of mental health issue.” he said.

“Christmas is a particularly hard time of year for people diagnosed with mental illness,” Mr Dunain said

“Their problems are often exasperated by lack of money, poor housing, isolation from friends, neighbours, family, and the constant starvation of support services and underfunding of resources does not help.”

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