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Anxiety – Mental Health Awareness Week

The Covid pandemic affected both the physical and mental health of people. This feeling of uneasiness and worry continues as restrictions have been lifted, including the wearing of facemasks in health care settings. Understandably many are anxious about going out again into crowded spaces.

Thousands are also worried about paying their basic household bills and have cut back on many activities which incurred extra costs. These activities brought them into contact with others and were perhaps hobbies which they got great enjoyment out of participating in.

The Orkney News covered the shocking statistics of how people are struggling in today’s UK in this editorial, Passing through the eye of a needle and of the work being done by the Scottish Government Summit Hears from those Directly Affected by Poverty: Scottish Government To Target Financial Support .

Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 is from 15-21 May. Its focus this year is on Anxiety.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems we can face. Focusing on anxiety for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem.  Alliance

If you are feeling anxious there are support organisations which can help. In Orkney, The Blide Trust “is a charity dedicated to providing support for those who have, or have had, experience of mental ill health.”

Liam McArthur, Orkney Constituency, MSP (lLibDem) met Blide Service Director, Clare Allison who highlighted the growing membership and work being carried out to support those in the community facing challenges with their mental health, including through the newly-established Distress Brief Interventions (DBI) programme.

DBI aims to offer compassionate support through collaboration between NHS24, health and social care, emergency services, and third sector groups such as the Blide, providing early intervention and improving outcomes for people experiencing distress.

Commenting on the visit, Liam McArthur said:

Liam McArthur MSP is sitting with 3 members of the Blide and a very friendly dog

“Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity for us all to play our part in raising awareness of this crucial issue. Nobody is immune to the challenges posed by poor mental health, which is why this week is so important.”

“As the cost of living soars and the future seems uncertain, it is perhaps inevitable that many people are feeling more anxious. This is a natural and normal reaction, but it is important that we are able to recognise anxiety in ourselves and others, and take action to help stop it from taking over.

“That’s why raising awareness is crucial, including making people aware of the support that is available. In that context, the Blide has been doing excellent work in providing advice and support, including through the important DBI initiative. This has the potential for making services more accessible when and where people need them.

“I was also delighted to hear about the specific work the Blide is doing in collaboration with Orkney NFU to reach out to the farming community, where traditionally there has been a reluctance to talk more openly about issues of poor mental health. With cost increases and uncertainty over the future of funding a regulation, these are anxious times for farmers and crofters, so this collaboration could not be more timely.”

Two years ago the film “Unearthing Farming Lives” examined some of the most common causes of mental health problems, as well as their potential solutions, within the farming and wider agricultural community. The film was directed and released by Pink Sphynx Media, and involved several organizations in the North East of Scotland, including NFU Scotland, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeenshire Council, and Samaritans.

The full film is available to view on YouTube and here is a trailer to give you a taster of what it is about.

Remember there is support and help available.

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