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The Highland Times

News From and Around The Highlands of Scotland

Looking After Mental Health Crucial Says Highlands & Islands MSP


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a further £1 million investment in mental health services in Scotland.

The investment will go towards the expansion of the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme to help people in distress, and the launch of a new mental health marketing campaign.

This is in addition to a £3.8 million funding package previously announced by the Scottish Government which will be used to expand mental health services in Scotland, allowing them to cope with the further demand caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

£2.6 million of which will be used to expand the NHS 24 Mental Health Hub and Breathing Space telephone helpline and £1.2 million will be used to provide extra capacity for Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Highlands & Islands MSP Maree Todd (pictured) said:

“This will be an overwhelming time for many and I want to emphasise the importance of looking after our mental health in the same way we look after our physical health.

“Our day-to-day lives have changed drastically and it’s to be expected that this will affect our mental wellbeing, therefore it’s crucial that those who are struggling to cope are able to access the support they need.

“There are some great resources out there, from Breathing Space – the confidential phone and web-based service for those experiencing low mood – to Samaritans and Shout who offer 24-hour emotional support.

Ms Todd adds:

“We need each other more than ever.

“Phone your family & friends, check in with them regularly and ask how they are doing.

“There are small changes we can make ourselves to improve our mental wellbeing, from minimising our exposure to news which we may find distressing to staying physically active – within the current guidance.

“Many of you will know how much I enjoy running a daily mile.

“I’ve been enjoying seeing new signs of spring each day: snow patches shrinking on the Ben, lambs in the fields, and leaves unfurling on the trees as well as beautiful blossoms & flowers.

“Noticing these things while I’m running, helps keep me mentally as well as physically strong.

“Remember, help is out there if you need it, so please reach out.”

Mental Health Support Services

Breathing Space offers a confidential phone and web-based service for those experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.

Website: www.breathingspace.scot

Tel: 0800 83 85 87

Samaritans offers 24-hour emotional support for anyone struggling to cope.

Website: www.samaritans.org/?nation=scotland

Tel: 116 123

Shout is volunteer run and offers a 24/7 crisis text service.

The service is free on all major networks and is for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.

Website: www.giveusashout.org

Text: 85258

Visit www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus for the latest updates on coronavirus from NHS Scotland.

If you’re experiencing symptoms call NHS 24 on 111.

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