Talking Helps: Mental Health Support

People in Orkney who are feeling anxious or who are struggling to cope are being encouraged to seek support by the Scottish Government’s Principal Medical Officer for Mental Health.

Dr Alastair Cook reinforced that these continue to be tough and challenging times for everyone and encouraged those who need to speak to someone about how they’re feeling to access a range of free, confidential sources of help and advice.

Throughout January, the Scottish Government will be running campaigns across TV and radio to support those experiencing mental health and wellbeing difficulties.

The campaigns signpost help available, both online and over the phone, from organisations including Samaritans, Breathing Space and SAMH. They also provide hints and tips on how people can look after themselves, and feel better.

Dr Cook acknowledged that feelings of anxiety, worry and frustration are being felt by many, to varying degrees, and encouraged people to make the effort to keep in touch with others, either over the phone, or in person, to help with feelings of stress and isolation.

Principal Medical Officer for Mental Health Dr Alastair Cook said:  

“The pandemic is continuing to affect all our lives, and many are dealing with difficult feelings and emotions. It’s so important to continue to prioritise mental health, particularly during times of uncertainty, and remember that you’re not alone in feeling this way.

“If you’re feeling low, overwhelmed, unable to sleep, struggling to get out of bed, or just not yourself, I’d encourage you to talk to someone about how you’re feeling as it can help lighten the load.

“It might be a friend, or a family member initially, but organisations including Breathing Space and Samaritans can provide free, confidential advice over the phone. 

“Support is there, so please reach out if you’re struggling. Visit NHS inform to find the support that’s right for you, or call NHS24 on 111 if you need more urgent help.”

Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care Kevin Stewart, said:

“These have been challenging times for all of us, and feelings of worry or uncertainty are understandable. During the winter months it’s more important than ever to look after our mental health and wellbeing. This campaign highlights the things that we can do to look after ourselves, and each other.

“Remember that help and support is available if you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling.”

For more information, visit or

Samaritans: Contacts phone: 116 123

Breathing Space phone: 0800 83 85 87

SAMH, Scottish Association for Mental Health

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