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Founder of Mikeysline in Inverness urges schools to do more to tackle mental health

By Val Sweeney

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Ron Williamson.
Ron Williamson.

THE man behind a groundbreaking Highland suicide prevention charity today revealed he is standing down – and took a parting shot at the role schools play in mental health for youngsters.

Pioneering Ron Williamson said that children need to be given lessons in resilience to help them cope with modern life and everyday problems.

Mr Williamson, the founder of Mikeysline, made the call as he announced he is stepping down from the organisation which he launched in memory of his nephew who took his own life four years ago on Saturday.

Mr Williamson, who will turn 70 later this month, said it was now time to hand over the reins of the award-winning charity which provides a textline service for people experiencing thoughts of depression, anxiety, worry or stress and also has a drop-in centre in Inverness.

He called for every school in Scotland to provide one hour’s resilience training each week to pupils aged eight and nine to help improve their ability to bounce back from setbacks.

“It is about learning life skills and coping with everyday situations,” he said. “It is recognising that what appears to be a problem now has a solution and doesn’t need to be a barrier. Life is tough but problems are not insurmountable.

“Undoubtedly there are many children who have a mental health problem but there many more who are labelled with a mental health problem because it is an easy-to-use get-out clause for behaviour or an inability to interact.”

But he also stressed it was important that children with mental health problems should get help early before they became more serious.

Full story in today's Highland News.

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