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Highland Council joins the “movement” by backing Mental Health Awareness Week

By Alasdair Fraser

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Mental health issues can affect anyone, at any age, with Highland Council this week recognising the importance of movement and encouraging each other to embrace healthy activity.
Mental health issues can affect anyone, at any age, with Highland Council this week recognising the importance of movement and encouraging each other to embrace healthy activity.

Highland Council is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week - and pushing the positive benefits of movement.

The local authority will promote the Monday, May 13 to event by raising awareness among its own workforce through a series of drop-in and support sessions.

Every year Mental Health Awareness Week adopts different themes with the aim of encouraging people to reach out for help and support others.

The awareness theme this year focuses on ‘movement: moving more for our mental health’.

The Mental Health Foundation explains that: “Movement is important for our mental health, but so many of us struggle to move enough.

“We know there are many different reasons for this, so this Mental Health Awareness Week we want to help people to find moments for movement in their daily routines.

“Going for a walk in your neighbourhood, putting on your favourite music and dancing around the living room, chair exercises when you’re watching television – it all counts!”

Health, social Care and wellbeing committee chairman Cllr David Fraser said: “By supporting and recognising Mental Health Awareness Week, we can increase our understanding of mental health and its impact on our lives.

“This year, Highland Council is focusing on raising mental health awareness among its workforce through the delivery of a range of drop-in and support sessions.

“And in line with the drive for ‘Moments For Movement’ we will be doing all we can to help protect our mental health by regular movement.

“Moving more can increase your energy, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost your self-esteem.”

The additional stresses and uncertainty of global issues and the cost of living crisis are recognised as factors affecting the mental health of Highlanders.

Those behind Mental Health Awareness Week believe movement can help improve mental health and by reaching out to family and friends, and encouraging each other to be active “bringing welcome relief to those who are struggling”.

There are local mental health support groups across Highland, that offer a confidential, friendly listening service and can help direct people to local groups and support in their area.

Cllr Fraser added: “You're not alone; across Highland there are mental health groups and charities there to help support anyone experiencing poor mental health or for those worried about friends, family, or colleagues.

“Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.”

For information on Highland Mental Wellbeing and to locate groups in your area go to: Highland Mental Wellbeing – A collection of resources to support mental wellbeing (scot.nhs.uk).

The Prevent Suicide Highland Smartphone App also provides guidance for members of the public as to what they can do to help someone experiencing mental distress and perhaps contemplating suicide and it can be downloaded for free.

Every recognised mental health organisation offers the following advice:

If you, or someone you care for, is in immediate danger call 999. If the crisis is not life threatening, call NHS 24 on 111 or speak to your GP. There are other services you can contact 24 hours a day for support, as per the following:

Samaritans - 116 123 (calls are free and do not show on a phone bill)

Breathing Space - 0800 83 85 87.

The Mental Health Foundation website also has top tips on boosting your mental health by moving more. Share your experiences and support on social media using the hashtag #MomentsForMovement.

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