Published: 22/03/2018 19:00 - Updated: 20/03/2018 10:40

Soothing boxes set to save lives in Highlands

Written byNicole Webber


Carlie Borthwick and Viv Mackie at Inverness Soup.

A DRAGONS’ Den style fundraiser has awarded backing to a life-saving rescue box campaign for people with mental health issues.

Members of Serenity – a Highland peer support group for women with borderline personality disorder – hope that the soothe boxes will stop people in their tracks when considering suicide or self-harm.

Serenity founders, Viv Mackie (39) and Carlie Borthwick (29) made an impassioned plea for support during Inverness Soup, a crowdfunding evening held in the Old High Church Hall.

Each person to attend the event donated five pounds, at the end of the night they voted for a winner and Serenity were given £275 to help towards the cost of the boxes.

Spectrum, an autism charity and the Muir of Ord Youth Arts Hub also gave pitches to the crowd but were unsuccessful.

Miss Mackie expressed how delighted they are to have been chosen and how much she is looking forward to starting the Serenity Soothe Box campaign.

"We are hoping that the boxes will distract someone in distress and thinking of self-harm or suicide," she said.

They will be personalised with each request and filled with positive quotes and affirmations, a photo-frame to add photographs of loved ones, calming candles or a stretchy toy to relieve stress.

Thanks to the funding they hope to be able to sell a basic box for £7.50, with all proceeds going to the support group.

The group have always been open and honest about their own experiences of mental health and revealed that the idea was formed from a similar box concept used in therapy.

"Because we both have experience of borderline personality disorder we both have boxes," Miss Mackie added.

"In mine I have a candle, headphones, photos of my family and someone special I lost to suicide and it brings back the pain that his family went through – it is a distraction technique when you are in a crisis."

They will also include a flashcard for listing your mental health symptoms and details of who should be contacted if something goes wrong.

The box itself will also remain fairly plain to allow people to decorate it themselves.

They hope to broaden out the idea to anyone who wants one and will be selling them through the Serenity Facebook page.

Inverness Soup was originally founded by Fiona Mackenzie but has now been passed on to Mhairi Wylie and Glen Harrison.

This was the fifth Inverness Soup event in the city and was supported by Highland Home Carers.

The organisers are always looking for new groups to support. To get involved  email

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