Mental Health Awareness Week: “We’re here to help,” says Am Fasgadh manager

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18-24 May 2020. The theme is kindness.

“We’re here for anyone who wants to talk or needs help of any kind.”

Those were the words of the Skye and Lochalsh Mental Health Association centre manager who was speaking to the Free Press during Mental Health Awareness Week.

The association, also known as Am Fasgadh, operates as a drop-in centre in Portree and provides drop-in outreach support in Kyle at An Drochaid. However, since March – in response to the coronavirus pandemic – the Am Fasgadh team has been providing mental health support by phone and social media and delivering cooked meals and essential supplies.

At the moment the organisation is in contact with 70 people and that work is being supported by emergency funding from the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund, Foundation Scotland, the Highland Council, and Tesco Bags of Help.

Speaking to the Free Press, Am Fasgadh Centre Manager Alex Jones said: “These events have put everyone’s mental health under pressure, and for people already living with a mental health problem isolation and anxiety are making things even more difficult. Emotional needs are as important as practical ones and we don’t want anyone to be going through this alone.

“We’re here for anyone who wants to talk or needs help of any kind.”

The team can be contacted by telephone – 01478 613533, and via their website and Facebook page.

Kindness matters during Mental Health Awareness Week

NHS 24 is taking time during Mental Health Awareness Week to remind those who might need some support of their Breathing Space service, and the importance of being kind to yourself.

Breathing Space is a free and confidential phone and web-based service for people in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression, or anxiety. The service offers a friendly ear while also providing professional support to those who might need it.

Tony McLaren, National Coordinator of Breathing Space said: “We all need support from time to time, and it’s really important to remind ourselves that it’s ok to ask someone for help.

“Sometimes we can feel a bit stuck – you might think that others appear to be coping well, so why do I feel I am struggling? It’s worth remembering if you aren’t comfortable speaking to friends or family, you can ask for help on the phone as well. Our advisors will give you time to open up, should you be experiencing distress in your life.’

‘Please don’t feel you have to wait until things are very bad to get in touch. Our service is there to provide space to think about why you might be feeling anxious or low. At this time it’s important to look after our mental health, and remind ourselves that kindness matters.”

Breathing Space is available via its website and by telephone – 0800 83 85 87 – Monday – Thursday from 6 pm to 2 am and from Friday – Monday 6 pm – 6 am. You can also visit NHS24 on Twitter and Facebook.