Mikeysline volunteers and staff Ami, Andy and Brogan are sat with Drew Hendry MP inside the Hive on the Road mobile unit. They are sat on an L-shaped sofa which fits the unit, and there is a graphic on the back wall depicting a bee in a hive. The area is framed by green curtains for privacy.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, I am grateful to our kind communities

This Mental Health Awareness Week, I’m grateful to the organisations across the Highlands who work hard to support folk who are struggling. I understand that it can feel incredibly isolating to experience ill-mental health, however thanks to organisations like Mikeysline, there are always people who are there to help.

Mikeysline – as I’m sure you’ll know – are a pillar of hope for many here in the Highlands, providing essential mental health support, as well as raising awareness and breaking down the stigma around mental health. Their most recent expansion – the ‘Hive on the Road’ mobile unit – is fully kitted out and is designed to bring one-to-one support to those living more rurally, and has been a great success.

The vital work that Mikeysline does wouldn’t be possible without volunteers like Ami and Andy who offer their time to the cause, helping others when they need it most – a truly commendable act of kindness.

Drew Hendry MP and Mikeysline volunteer Andy are chatting inside the new Hive on the Road mobile unit. The mobile unit is a blue van with the Mikeysline support number on the side.
Mikeysline volunteer Andy showing Drew Hendry the ‘Hive on the Road’ van.

Another fantastic organisation, Brent Centre Highlands, launched in March with the mission of supporting young people across the Highlands with their mental health. Sarah Fielding – the driving force behind the project – has done a brilliant job in setting up such a welcoming safe space for young people to access mental health therapy and practical support.

Our geography here in the Highlands is vast, which presents its own unique challenges. It is vitally important that young people have access to the right support when they need it. The Brent Centre are doing fantastic work in offering this, free of charge.

Brent Centre Highlands' Sarah and Sam stand alongside Drew Hendry MP on a cobbled street, smiling at the camera. They are next to a doorway that leads to the centre.
The Brent Centre Highlands’ Sarah and Sam, alongside Drew Hendry.

Offering the right support to people when they need it wouldn’t be possible without ensuring those with lived experiences play a role in developing services, and that’s exactly what HUG Action for Mental Health are doing under their new initiative. Their collective advocacy is led solely by people with lived experience of ill-mental health which informs the work John Beaton – founder of the project – is doing to inspire change in our community mental health services.

Many of you might also be familiar with the Highland Well-Ness Collective; developed and led by Laura Johnston-Scott, who is leading the way on fostering inclusion in our communities. The Highland Well-Ness Collective focuses on improving mental health and wellbeing through therapeutic and creative activities paired with professional counselling services. Laura’s care and passion for helping others is evident throughout all that she does.

Laura Johnston-Scott is wearing a black top and a pink skirt, and is stood smiling at the camera.
Laura Johnston-Scott, founder of The Highland Well-Ness Collective.

A quality that underpins each of these organisations is that they are all rooted in a strong sense of community. We may not be able to stop people from facing struggles with their mental health, but we can build a resilient, kind community that comes together to help those who need it, which is exactly what Mikeysline, Brent Centre Highlands, HUG Action for Mental Health and the Highland Well-Ness Collective have done, and is something for us all to be grateful for.