McArthur marks Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

15 May 2023

Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur today marked the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week raising awareness of mental health, during a visit to Orkney Blide Trust.

Mental Health Awareness Week, which is organised by the Mental Health Foundation, is taking place from 15th to 21st May on the theme this year of anxiety. In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis where more than one in three UK adults have reported feeling anxious about their finances, the theme of anxiety was an obvious choice.

During his visit to today, Orkney’s MSP met Blide Service Director, Clare Allison who highlighted the growing membership and work being carried out to support those in the community facing challenges with their mental health, including through the newly-established Distress Brief Interventions (DBI) programme. DBI aims to offer compassionate support through collaboration between NHS24, health and social care, emergency services, and third sector groups such as the Blide, providing early intervention and improving outcomes for people experiencing distress.

Commenting on the visit, Mr McArthur said:

“Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity for us all to play our part in raising awareness of this crucial issue. Nobody is immune to the challenges posed by poor mental health, which is why this week is so important.

“As the cost of living soars and the future seems uncertain, it is perhaps inevitable that many people are feeling more anxious. This is a natural and normal reaction, but it is important that we are able to recognise anxiety in ourselves and others, and take action to help stop it from taking over

“That’s why raising awareness is crucial, including making people aware of the support that is available. In that context, the Blide has been doing excellent work in providing advice and support, including through the important DBI initiative. This has the potential for making services more accessible when and where people need them.

“I was also delighted to hear about the specific work the Blide is doing in collaboration with Orkney NFU to reach out to the farming community, where traditionally there has been a reluctance to talk more openly about issues of poor mental health. With cost increases and uncertainty over the future of funding a regulation, these are anxious times for farmers and crofters, so this collaboration could not be more timely.”