A charity offering mental health and suicide prevention services in the Highlands and Moray has scooped two major awards, highlighting the need for wellbeing support in remote and rural communities.
Mikeysline scooped the Reducing Vulnerability Award through Third Sector Activity at the Highland Third Sector Interface Awards – just a week after being named Best Third Sector Organisation at the Highland Business Women Awards.
CEO Emily Stokes said:
“To be recognised for the work we are doing in the Highlands and Moray is incredible and a real testament to the hard work of our volunteers and staff who give their time and energy to support their communities.
“However, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.
“It’s a sad fact that suicide rates are higher in the Highlands than in most other regions of the UK.
“There is still so much to be done to reach rural and remote communities that don’t currently have easy access to support services in addition to the areas where we already provide support.
“We are addressing this by partnering with football clubs, other sports clubs and organisations like the Camanachd Association, to bring our messages and services to the heart of rural communities where sports form a core part of their community identity.
“It is so important to us to spread the message that it’s OK not to be OK, and that help is available in whatever form it is most accessible to people in distress – whether that is by text or face-to-face.”
Mikeysline is committed to breaking down the barriers and stigma surrounding conversations on mental health and suicide.
As the first UK charity to offer text-based mental health support, it has continued to innovate in its delivery of support – now offering face-to-face sessions in four Hives across the north of Scotland, as well as running dedicated group support sessions.
Judges at the Highland Third Sector Interface Awards commented:
“Mikeysline are committed to supporting people of all ages in Highland and breaking down the stigma of mental health issues through innovative means.”
Mikeysline has spent considerable effort engaging with rural communities through partnerships with the likes of the Camanachd Association, allowing the charity to spread its message to the heart of remote areas where mental health support and wellbeing resources are scarce.
The charity has also partnered with pupils and teachers in dozens of schools across the Highlands and Moray, providing in-school support and fundraising activities to increase awareness and help young people through difficult times in their lives.
The Highland Business Women Awards judges also noted:
“The growth and innovation delivered by Mikeysline is inspirational.
“From the introduction of Hives and youth champions, to increased social media interaction and growing partnerships with the local business community – the team at Mikeysline have developed something very special, which is breaking down barriers and making a fundamental difference in this vital area.”
Since 2015, Mikeysline has offered confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages dealing with mental health issues, emotional distress or thoughts of suicide in the Highlands and Moray.
It does this via a text line service at 07786 207755; WhatsApp at 01463 729000 and via its website; and live chat, Twitter and Messenger via its website.
The charity also produces a popular podcast, Speaking of Suicide; works closely with teachers and pupils in schools across the north of Scotland; and offers face-to-face support in four Hives across the region – at its Inverness headquarters, Tesco in Tain, The Place in Alness, and now the Highland Yoga Collective in Nairn.
Here, service users can engage in one-to-one support or join in group sessions.