A leading Scottish mental health and suicide prevention charity is partnering with the world governing body for Scottish shinty to spread the word about its support services available in rural Highland communities.
Mikeysline has teamed up with the Camanachd Association to highlight the text-based support services available to people who may be struggling with their mental health, in emotional distress, or experiencing thoughts of suicide.
Mikeysline CEO Emily Stokes said:
“We want everyone in the Highlands and Moray to know that Mikeysline’s services are available to them – no matter where they live.
“While we have a strong presence in Inverness and larger towns, we want to get the message out there to rural communities that it’s ok not to be ok and that we are here to provide non-judgemental support if they need it.
“Partnering with the Camanachd Association allows us to get to the heart of many rural communities, where shinty provides a connective link between local residents.
“Sadly, Highland shinty teams have in the past experienced high suicide rates – including in Fort William.
“By working together with shinty clubs across the region, we are able to not only connect with players, but also their friends, families and communities to share information about the support services we offer.”
Banners, signage and on-kit logos are amongst the ways that clubs Caberfeidh, Strathglass and Beauly have so far shown their support – with the charity hoping to secure more prominent display space at other grounds across the Highlands in the coming weeks.
Caberfeidh players Kail McAuley and Finlay Coleman have been working at ground level to encourage more teams across the region to get involved with Mikeysline’s campaign – recently securing new banner space at Glenurquhart Glen and Kinlochshiel.
Derek Keir, Camanachd Association CEO, said:
“As a sports governing body, the Camanachd Association is focused on contributing to the wellbeing of our communities through shinty in its fullest form.
“Yes, that includes the work we do in keeping people physically active – but it also extends to what we can offer off the park in terms of the provision of mental health support.
“We work in partnership with a number of mental health charities including Mikeysline, SAMH and the Samaritans and we encourage all of our member clubs to embrace any kind of collaboration that could help them achieve mentally healthy communities.”
Beauly Shinty Club president, David Calder, added:
“The banner at our ground is a small but hopefully significant way that the club can support a charity that does so much vital work throughout the Highlands.
“We have also already joined the Camanachd Association’s Shinty Chaplaincy scheme, and our chaplain Gordon Martin is available to listen to our members and offer pastoral advice.
“We are proud of the steps we have taken to combat mental health issues, and will continue to work with partners and charities wherever possible.”
Since 2015, Mikeysline has offered confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages with mental health issues or in emotional distress in the Highlands and Moray 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, and offers face-to-face support from three Hives across the region – at its Inverness headquarters, at Tesco in Tain, and at The Place in Alness.