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Harry and Meghan interview: Inverness mental health charity applauds brave step to discuss emotional distress and urges struggling locals to reach out for mental health support

By Lorna Thompson

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AN Inverness-based based mental health charity is urging those who feel like they are struggling to reach out for help.

Mikeysline has issued the plea following a high-profile interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, during which the Duchess said that at times she "didn’t want to be alive any more".

Mikeysline, set up in 2015, supports people of all ages who are living with mental health issues or are in emotional distress by offering text, phone and face-to-face support services.

The charity predominantly covers the Highlands from its base in Inverness.

It recently set up an additional support service for young people.

Emily Stokes, service manager at Mikeysline, said: "Although huge leaps forward have been made in the discourse around mental health, it is still sometimes seen as a taboo subject that people are embarrassed to talk about or don’t talk about due to the fear of stigma from others.

"Meghan’s decision to discuss her struggles so openly is a brave step and serves as a reminder that mental health issues can affect absolutely anyone, no matter what their life may seem like from the outside.

"At Mikeysline, we firmly believe that anyone who is struggling should get the support and assistance they require.

Service manager at Mikeysline Emily Stokes.
Service manager at Mikeysline Emily Stokes.

"People come to us for a wide variety of reasons – including struggles with the pressures of work or studies, bereavement, loneliness and turbulent relationships, to those who have experienced suicidal thoughts. In the last year, Covid-19 has also placed a great deal of extra pressure on all of our lives which for some people can be more difficult to process.

"No matter the cause of concern, we will never turn anyone away who is looking for help.

"We know that reaching out can be a daunting prospect, but it is important to remember that it’s okay not to be okay – and that we are always here to listen."

Although Mikeysline’s drop-in centre in Inverness, The Hive, is currently closed due to government guidelines, the charity offers a call-back service for those who would like to talk in more detail over the phone. The centre will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

Mikeysline also offers live chat, Twitter and Messenger support – as well as a text line service at 07786 207755. All text-based services remain unaffected during lockdown, meaning these are open every evening.

For more information, visit www.mikeysline.co.uk.

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