Highland Council and NHS Highland promote Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Joint release with NHS Highland

NHS Highland and the Highland Council are working closely together this week to champion mental health awareness during Monday 18-25 May, to encourage people to ask for help if they need it.  This week is a great opportunity for reflection, to talk and to support one another during a mentally testing period in our lives.

NHS Highland’s Clinical Director of Psychological Services, Ann Galloway said: “I would like to remind everyone that taking care of our mental health is as important as looking after our physical health during these worrying times; including all NHS staff - clinical and non-clinical - as well as the general public. There are many things we can all do to help ourselves cope better at this time and in life, generally.”

For this particular period, the focus of MHA week is on the power and potential of kindness. Mental Health Foundation, who are behind the themed week, explained the choice of kindness as a theme:  “We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health.”

Councillor Linda Munro, Chair of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee at the Highland Council, said: “This year’s theme of kindness is a fitting focus as we need a strengthened Highland community to help each other adjust to the new normal of life when we emerge from lockdown.

By supporting and recognising Mental Health Awareness Week, we are able to increase our understanding of Mental Health and its impact on our lives. We are more now than ever experiencing additional stresses and uncertainty because of the COVID-19 Emergency. This means many of us across the region are likely to be feeling the effects of reduced Mental Health.”

Ms Galloway added: “For our staff, NHS Highland have established a Staff Psychological Wellbeing network across the organisation, to provide advice and support to build and maintain the psychological wellbeing of our colleagues, to increase resilience and to reduce the likelihood of burn out, trauma, or other emotional injuries during the Covid-19 outbreak. “

There are many  resources available to the public which can help manage emotional wellbeing and which address dealing with issues such as isolation, sleep disturbance, and anxiety; they also provide short and valuable techniques to help everyone take care of their mental health, in addition to staying physically fit.

If you, or someone you care for, is in immediate danger call 999. If the crisis is not life threatening, call NHS 24 on 111 or speak to your GP. There are other services you can contact 24 hours a day for support, as per the following: • Samaritans - 116 123 (calls are free and do not show on a phone bill) • Breathing Space - 0800 83 85 87 • National Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0800 027 1234 • Childline - 0800 1111 • CRUSE Bereavement Care Scotland - 0845 600 2227. The Scottish Government have also developed a site https://clearyourhead.scot/ to help us get through these times.

To download a supporter pack, visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/MHAW20-Supporter-Pack_Final.pdf

15 May 2020
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