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Cost of living, fuel poverty and impacts of coronavirus pandemic add to mental health crisis, says Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick as she reveals her personal experiences after meeting Highland Befrienders, Centred and Inverness Street Pastors

By Val Sweeney

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Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick meets representatives of organisations and charities supporting mental health.
Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick meets representatives of organisations and charities supporting mental health.

A Highlands and Islands MSP has spoken of the difficulties she has faced after the death of her mother as she highlighted the issue of mental health.

Emma Roddick has spent her first weeks of summer recess meeting community groups and charities supporting mental health.

They included Highland Befrienders, Centred (formerly Birchwood Highland), and Inverness Street Pastors.

“I speak about this often, but the Highlands and Islands are facing a mental health crisis which is only being exacerbated by the cost of living crisis, fuel poverty, and the long-term effects of the pandemic,” Ms Roddick said.

“My recent cost of living survey found that 74 per cent of my constituents’ mental health is being impacted by the rising cost of living.

“I know first-hand that the long-term effects of the pandemic add another layer of complexity on existing mental health concerns.

“I lost my mum a little over a year ago to coronavirus and it’s been really difficult for me, as I know it has been for many others.

“I’m grateful for the support networks I have that are getting me through it but I know not everyone has that.

“Social support is a really big part of mental health, and each of these important groups I visited has their own unique framework in place to support people.”

She welcomed hearing more about their work and future projects and was glad to offer her support.

MSP sees work of bereavement service

“What I would say to anyone struggling with their mental health is please reach out to your GP and check out these incredible organisations,” she said.

“There is help out there for you and I will continue to advocate for the widening of emergency and community mental health support services in the Highlands and Islands and I will continue spreading awareness about mental health at any opportunity I can get.”

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