Emma Roddick has dedicated her first weeks of summer recess to meet with community groups and charities supporting mental health across the Highlands & Islands.
These groups included Highland Befrienders, Centred (formerly Birchwood Highland), and Inverness Street Pastors.
Following these visits, Roddick said:
“I speak about this often, but the Highlands and Islands are facing a mental health crisis which is only being exacerbated by the cost of living crisis, fuel poverty, and the long-term effects of the pandemic.
“My recent cost of living survey found that 74% of my constituents’ mental health is being impacted by the rising cost of living. I know first-hand that the long-term effects of the pandemic add another layer of complexity on existing mental health concerns. I lost my mum a little over a year ago to covid and it’s been really difficult for me, as I know it has been for many others. I’m grateful for the support networks I have that are getting me through it, but I know not everyone has that.
“Social support is a really big part of mental health, and each of these important groups I visited has their own unique framework in place to support people. Whether it’s a friendly chat on the street with a passer-by that the Street Pastors do, the Meaningful Mondays that Highland Befrienders organise for folk to come together and do various activities, or community support that Centred provide.
“I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet each and every one of these organisations to hear more about their work, the services they provide, and future projects they’re planning, and I am glad to offer them my support.
“What I would say to anyone struggling with their mental health is please reach out to your GP and check out these incredible organisations. There is help out there for you and I will continue to advocate for the widening of emergency and community mental health support services in the Highlands & Islands and I will continue spreading awareness about mental health at any opportunity I can get.”