Avicii’s family: He couldn’t go on any longer


Avicii’s family has issued a new statement which says he “could not go on any longer”.

The body of the Swedish DJ, whose real name is Tim Bergling, was found at a hotel in Oman last week.

His family added that the 28-year-old was “an over-achieving perfectionist who travelled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress”.

A spokesperson for the artist declined to confirm whether he had killed himself.

The police in Oman say they’ve police ruled out “criminal suspicions”.

In the statement his family spoke about how Tim “struggled with thoughts on meaning, life, happiness”.

“Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions.

“He wanted to find peace.”

Avicii had always been quite open about his struggles in the limelight and announced in 2016 that he was to retire from touring.

The statement added: “When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music.”

The family had previously praised fans and fellow musicians for their support.

Thousands of fans gathered in Stockholm to remember him. After a silence, church bells performed the track Without You.

And some of his biggest hits Wake Me Up, Levels and Hey Brother are expected to enter the chart on Friday.

Other musicians and DJs have also been posting their tributes on social media.


Link to BBC Newsbeat here 

Lee Welsh Memorial match


Lee’s lifelong friend Steven Martin is organising a charity football match on June 9th at North End football ground. All money raised will be donated to DAMH, Dundee Association for Mental Health.

Please come along and support this event, which will be a brilliant day out for the family.


Link to the event on Facebook here. 


Dundee United star James Keatings opens up on battle with depressio


James Keatings has revealed his battle with depression. The Tannadice striker has had a horrendous year on and off the pitch and revealed he has been struggling with his mental health.



The sun peeking through the curtain of his hotel room offered a view outside of Mexico in all its glory

The golden, sandy beaches were 
waiting as part of what should have been the holiday of a lifetime.

But James Keatings wasn’t interested.

Because, at that point in his life, no amount of light was going to pierce through the dark cloud that was slowly engulfing him.

He didn’t know it last June when he set off with then girlfriend Debbie.

James Keatings has had to deal with injuries on the pitch and problems off it.

But the hugely talented Dundee United footballer was in the first throes of depression.

Keatings should have been bouncing out of his bed every morning.

Instead, he was struggling to get his head off the pillow.

Yet incredibly, that dark feeling he had in Mexico was only the start of the physical and mental torture he was about to face.

As a professional, the 26-year-old 
has endured a nightmare campaign with injuries.

But the pain he suffered in his ankle and hip is nothing compared to an 
illness that has gripped his whole life.

As well as depression, the loss of his grandad William hit him hard – as did the break-up with Debbie.

Then, when he thought things couldn’t get any worse, he was forced to board a flight to Tenerife to be at dad James’ bedside after he had been mowed down by a hit-and-run driver.

Until now, Keatings has only 
spoken to those closest to him about his problems.

Seeking out help from his family, agent Alan Houldsworth and the Tannadice club were the first steps on the striker’s road to recovery.

Even at the start of MailSport’s 
conversation with the striker, he was reluctant to open up.

But the need to unburden himself of negative thoughts – as well as a 
determination to help others who are silently suffering – made up his mind.

From the outside, most players look to have the perfect life without a care in the world.

But, as Keatings proves, in reality it can be a very different story.

He said: “I’ve been suffering from depression but not a lot of people are aware of it.

“I was on holiday in Mexico last 
summer and my girlfriend was the first person to notice signs of it.

“She immediately wanted to get me help. I’d spend most days locked away in my room. I didn’t want to get up.

“I had no life, basically. I couldn’t pull myself out of it. But I didn’t want to admit to depression – I couldn’t see it in myself.

Keatings signed for Dundee United last summer

“I didn’t believe something like that could get a grip of me. But I couldn’t shake it.

“It was new to me. I couldn’t 
understand it, couldn’t see through it.

“The first person I went to was Alan, my agent. I came off the pitch one day and broke down in front of him.

“He got me help and has been 
amazing. Everyone at Dundee United, including my former manager Ray McKinnon, Laurie Ellis, Darren Taylor, as well as the doctor and physio, has been brilliant.

“I also confided in Jason Cummings, who has been there for me as well.

“It’s still hard to talk about.

“For a few months, being injured was actually a blessing in disguise. Because it gave me time away.

“The way I was feeling, it was better to be out of it, away from football.

“At one point, playing was the last thing on my mind. I was in a dark place and didn’t know where to turn.

“It was difficult to tell my family. I didn’t want to put them through it. I’ve learnt more about the illness and sought my own help in Glasgow as well. I’ve had to train myself to deal with it.

Keatings has confided in his pal Jason Cummings

“Every day, I don’t know how I’ll be when I wake up.

“But initially I couldn’t get myself out of the darkness. Now I can. I’m getting better gradually.

“It’s hard for me right now. As I’m talking, I find myself sweating because I haven’t opened up in 
public before.”

Keatings’ bravery is to be admired, especially in the macho world of sport.

His former gaffer at Hibs, Neil Lennon, is just one of several 
sports stars who have spoke 
candidly about their battles with depression.

Away from the pitch, Keatings found himself in a rut. And the death of his Papa, William, was a huge blow.

He said: “I lost him a couple of months ago and it was a hard one to take. He’d followed my career from when I was a young boy, 
coming to every game until his age stopped him.

“That was a tough time for me.

“Until this season, my career and life have been pretty rosy.

“But fans and people on the 
outside just see you as a player, 
they don’t see what goes on in 
the background.

“This season has opened my eyes. People think we’re robots but we’re not – we’re just human beings, the same as everyone else.

“We go through the same problems as other people. I never expected to face what I’ve faced this season.

“Everything has come at once and it has taken its toll. I was reading people’s comments about me and letting it have a negative effect.

“Normally that wouldn’t get to me but niggly things were upsetting me.

“It pushed me to the point of having no confidence.

“I had stopped believing in myself for the first time. I was questioning myself going on a pitch.

“That was just the process I was going through at the time. But I’m now focused on getting out at the other end.

“In seasons before I’ve always had spells of success that give you a lift. But this season, from the very start, I’ve been suffering. I didn’t know I was going through it.

“I had the injuries, I wasn’t playing, my grandad passing away. Everything got on top of me.

Former boss Ray McKinnon was a big support 

“But I’m away now from the dark 
place where I’d give up easily and have no hunger.

“I see it more as a challenge in life now. I’ve been set a challenge and it’s a case of can I beat it?

“At one point, I was waking up and I couldn’t give a s**t. I’ve came on leaps and bounds and I have to keep going.”

Keatings has set his sights on a fresh start at Dundee United next term and expects to be fit again for pre-season.

But last week, despite seeing light at the end of the tunnel, he was dealt more bad news.

His father was on holiday in 
Tenerife when a Peruvian driver left him for dead in the street before 
driving away.

Keatings feared for his dad’s life and jumped on a plane to the Canary Islands.

Thankfully, James pulled through and returned to Scotland on Friday nursing several injuries.

His boy said: “That was the worst feeling I’ve had in my life.

“I woke up to 50 missed calls. When I rang my stepmum Karen back she told me Dad had been the victim of a hit and run.

“He was in hospital but she didn’t know how bad he was.

“He was in a neck brace and she couldn’t see his face for blood.

“There was a lack of information because of the language barrier and the first thought I had wasn’t nice.

“Alan was brilliant for me again, he booked a flight and took me to the airport.

“I just had to get out there. It was worrying because I didn’t know what I was getting off the plane to. I sat on the flight fearing the worst.

“But when I got to see him, it was just sheer relief. That feeling of sickness went away. He’s in a bit of a state but better than I thought he’d be.

“He has broken his ribs, has stitches in his head and is covered from head to toe in injuries. The doctors told him he’s fortunate to be alive and it’s a week I’ll never forget.”

The truth is, it’s a season Keatings will never forget – but all for the 
wrong reasons.

Link to Daily Record article here

UK benefits sanctions harming mental health of poorest Scots

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland's chief medical officer. Photograph: Gordon Terris

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer. 

BENEFIT sanctions introduced by the UK Government may have had an “adverse impact” on the mental health of the poorest Scots, a new report by the country’s Chief Medical Officer has said.

Scotland‘s top doctor Catherine Calderwood has published her annual report, with this stressing the need to “truly improve health and reduce inequalities”.

It told how Scotland “would be one of the healthiest countries in Europe” if everyone enjoyed the same level of health as those living in the most affluent areas.

It also warned of the “potential adverse impact on mental health” of the introduction of sanctions to the benefits system.

The Scottish Health Survey has gathered data on anxiety levels among adults since 2008.

“Examination of these data before and after the new welfare sanctions regime were introduced indicate a potential adverse impact on mental health,” the Chief Medical Officer’s report said.

“Among adults living in households in receipt of job seeker’s allowance (JSA) or income support (IS) in 2008-11 (before the change), 19 per cent had moderate to severe anxiety symptoms.

“Among those in a similar position in 2013-15 (after the change), the proportion was 30 per cent. Adults living in households not receiving JSA/IS, who were unlikely to be affected by these changes, showed only a minimal increase in anxiety symptoms over the same period “Together, these findings suggest that mental health has worsened in recent years amongst those most affected by economic and labour market insecurity, and by welfare reform.

“This highlights the importance of a secure household income and good work to mental health and wellbeing.”

While the report said there had been a “long-term decline in death rates in Scotland”, it added that “this decline in mortality has not in general been as rapid as the rest of the UK or other European countries”.

It noted the onset of multi-morbidity – when a person has multiple long-term health conditions – occurs on average 10 to 15 years earlier in people living in the most deprived areas of Scotland compared to the most affluent.

The report called for more action to be taken to encourage smokers to quit, with 10,000 deaths a year – about a fifth of all fatalities – and 120,000 hospital admissions linked to smoking.

It said Scotland “has made great progress in protecting people, especially children, from the harms of tobacco smoke and in smoking prevention”, with smoking levels among school children now at an all-time low.

It added: “Greater emphasis is now needed in encouraging more smokers to quit.

“The challenge is to get more smokers to seek support from NHS stop-smoking services – where their likelihood of success is more than doubled compared to trying to quit without support.”



Link to The National article here 

Depression: Dozens of genes linked to mental illness discovered by scientists

Scientists discovered genes linked to depression

DOZENS of genes linked to depression have been discovered by British scientists, it emerged today. They say the breakthrough could lead to new treatments for a condition that affects more than 300 million people worldwide.

Scientists have discovered genes linked to depression
An analysis of the DNA of 300,000 people in the UK – the biggest of its kind – identified almost 80 genes that could be involved in the devastating condition.

The mental illness blights the lives of sufferers and their families. It is second-leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year-olds.

Although environmental factors play a role in many cases of depression genetics are also known to be crucially important.

Lead author Dr David Howard, of Edinburgh University’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, said drugs that target the genes could improve mental health.

Depression can be debilitating

Depression can be debilitating and ruin social lives and work

The findings also provide new clues to the causes of depression and we hope it will narrow down the search for therapies that could help people living with the condition.

Dr David Howard

He said: “This study identifies genes that potentially increase our risk of depression – adding to the evidence it is partly a genetic disorder.

“The findings also provide new clues to the causes of depression and we hope it will narrow down the search for therapies that could help people living with the condition.”

Depression can be crippling – impairing the ability to sleep, work or even eat.

Antidepressants can often takes weeks or months to kick-inDr Howard’s team used data from the UK Biobank – which contains health information on half a million people – to scan participants’ genetic code for areas of DNA connected to depression.

Such scans are popular for finding genes that affect risk of diseases – but depression has proven largely resistant to this approach. Only a handful of potential ones have previously been identified.

Dr Howard and colleagues confirmed the findings by examining anonymised data held by the personal genetics and research company 23andMe – used with the donors’ consent.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, sheds light on why some people may be at higher risk of a disorder that affects one in five people in the UK every year.

It is the leading cause of disability globally. Life events – such as trauma or stress – can contribute to its onset but it’s not clear why certain individuals are more vulnerable.

Some of the pinpointed genes are involved in the function of synapses – tiny connections between brain cells that enable communication through electrical and chemical signals.

Prof Andrew McIntosh, who leads the lab’s research group, said: “Depression is a common and often severe condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

Many anti-depressants have negative side-effects

Many anti-depressants have negative side-effects so gene treatments might help

“These new findings help us better understand the causes of depression and show how the UK Biobank study and big data research has helped advance mental health research.

“We hope the UK’s growing health data research capacity will help us to make major advances in our understanding of depression in coming years.”

The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of Stratifying Resilience and Depression Longitudinally – a £4.7 million project to better understand the condition.

Last year a much smaller study of almost 2,000 people suggested depression could be caused by a single mutation.

The Dutch and Russian team found the NKPD1 gene accounted for a 4 per cent rise in the risk of experiencing symptoms of worthlessness, a lack of concentration and fatigue.

The research was based on families in an isolated village in The Netherlands so their small gene pool amplifies rare variants – such as NKPD1.

The results were then replicated in a sample of people which represented the general population – with different variants of the same gene identified.

The World Health Organisation has identified strong links between depression and substance use disorders, diabetes and heart disease.

Depression is also an important risk factor for suicide – which claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

Lack of support for people with mental disorders – coupled with a fear of stigma – prevent many from accessing the treatment they need.


Link to the Express here 

I never took my mental health for granted – now I’m reaping the rewards

woman climbing out of the back of her own head
 ‘ I have spent decades building a toolkit of rituals, strategies and coping mechanisms that arm me against the challenges of adulthood.’

The word “antidepressants” was part of my vocabulary before I was 10. A number of adults in my family, including my mum, were long-term takers. From a young age, I knew what Prozac was and remember playing with the boxes of St John’s Wort tablets that were stacked by the telephone. An elderly aunt had been sectioned in Ireland decades earlier – and remained incarcerated until her death – for what, these days, would probably be diagnosed as bipolar disorder and treated far more sensitively.

“All the females in our family are crazy,” my father has always tenderly joked, even telling my serious boyfriends when I brought them home. It would have been funnier if there wasn’t a lot of truth in the statement. It’s an interesting situation when you grow up with the knowledge that mental illness runs in your family – especially the women. Wondering if every down day, every rough patch could be something else entirely – the beginning of your psychological inheritance.

Research shows that a range of contributing factors can lead to mental health problems, such as clinical depression. Genetics is partly to blame, alongside biochemical factors, illness, personality style, long-term pressures, such as workplace stress, and stressful or traumatic events.

We know that bipolar disorder seems to run in families and researchers in the US, Australia, Sweden, and Denmark are investigating the specific genes that might lead to an individual inheriting anorexia.

Whether it’s through nature or nurture, it is widely acknowledged that an anxious parent can lead to an anxious baby who may grow into an anxious toddler. Babies of women with anxiety disorders are more likely to cry excessively, according to a German study.

It’s not great news for anyone – such as me – who was raised with a “black dog”lurking in their back garden.

I’m sure that’s why, as a writer, I’ve gravitated towards the topic of mental health, eager to uncover the “magic” formula to a glass-half-full mentality and discover how some people can look on the bright side while others spend their lives in the shadows.

And yet I count myself as lucky. Despite the dark cloud that has hovered over my childhood home at times, I view myself as a very happy person, and I come from a very happy family. Much like someone raised with an inherited physical illness, I’ve never taken my mental health for granted – and now, as an adult, I’m reaping the benefits.

Looking back, I was incredibly young when I first began to consciously work on my emotional resilience. As a schoolgirl, I had a secret “memory cleansing” exercise that I would do whenever something bad happened during my day. If a kid teased me or I fell over in the canteen and embarrassed myself, I would blink my eyes hard, just once, and whisper “gone”. From that moment, that particular memory would be “wiped” and I wouldn’t be able to dwell on it, even if I wanted to.

This wasn’t the only secret technique I had to self-soothe. I slept with a comfort blanket until I was a teenager (I still have a piece pinned into my hiking backpack for when I’m outside my comfort zone). As a child, I loved the ritual of making a “proper” cup of tea – warming the pot, mixing the tea-leaves and waiting patiently for them to brew. You could say it was my version of a mindfulness meditation.

None of this made me immune to mental unrest. I must have been eight or nine when I remember first becoming obsessed with certain repetitive habits – spending hours rearranging the cushions on the couch so they lined up perfectly; chewing all my food 15 times; an odd impulse to check if I could put my chin on my chest, because I’d read somewhere that a sore neck was a sign of meningitis.

These obsessive compulsive tendencies preempted an eating disorder that began around my 17th birthday. At its worst, I survived on one slice of toast a week (Sunday was my “eating” day) supplemented with handfuls of raisins and energy drinks. Yet, in an odd way, I felt like I had “prepared” for both of these experiences. I had known, on some level, that an emotional challenge was coming and, even while I was attempting to hide my problems from my parents – not very successfully – I began working on ways to help and heal myself.

As a schoolgirl, I would repeat the mantra, “I am safe, I am whole.” I have no idea where I heard it, but I still use it to this day.

I always knew that, if I stood any chance of leading a contented life, I had to take responsibility for my emotional circumstances. Today, in my early 30s, despite being in full remission from my eating disorder, having a happy marriage and a wonderful baby daughter, I still invest an incredible amount of time and effort into my mental wellbeing.

My “emotional entourage” includes a psychotherapist, a life coach and a hypnotherapist. I’ve also seen a break-up coach and a divorce mentor, who helped me through when my previous marriage ended. In my family, because of our history, there has never been a stigma about seeking help from an expert.

While many of my friends in their 30s are only just encountering their first real emotional tests – the stress of buying a first home, marriage breakdowns or the death of a parent – I feel like I’m 10 steps ahead of them. I have spent decades building a toolkit of rituals, strategies and coping mechanisms that arm me against the challenges of adulthood.

Today, I still wouldn’t call myself a naturally happy person. But I am a strategically happy person, with the power to reframe any negative situation and see the positives. In an odd way, I’m grateful that I grew up aware of my emotional fragility because, if anything, it made me more determined to find ways to harness hope, peace and optimism. I also know the warning signs if my mental health is beginning to slide and I can take action early, whether it’s slowing down, spending more time in nature or booking an appointment with one of my therapists.

Now that I’m pregnant with my second child, I recently had to disclose my family history during a hospital appointment. “Do you know the symptoms of postnatal depression?” asked the midwife. I laughed, because I could quote the symptoms of most mental illnesses off by heart – along with their best form of treatment.

I may never be able to take my mental health for granted but, to me, that’s not a bad legacy. From my family tree I grew resilience, empathy, curiosity and a deep gratitude for every good day.

How to break the cycle of mental illness

Never own someone else’s story. If your parent, partner or offspring is in the grips of mental turmoil, be sympathetic and supportive without letting it consume you. It’s easier said than done, but repeat the sentence, “This is not my experience.” Adopting someone else’s sadness will only drag you both down.

One bad day isn’t a bad life. If mental illness runs in your family, it can be easy to panic every time you wake up feeling anxious. But everyone has natural ups and downs. Do you have a reason to feel this way? Are your feelings circumstantial? Sometimes, just identifying the cause of negative emotions can reduce them.

Don’t wait until you need resilience to be resilient. Create your emotional toolkit before you need it. Find a type of meditation that works for you, explore journaling and build your support network. The best time to explore self-care is when life is easy, and you have the energy, strength and time to do the leg-work.

Self-soothe. Discover your own (healthy) coping mechanisms – think about the sights, sounds and hobbies that bring you peace and seek them out.

Trust experts will appear at the right time. Always remain open to the ones who might be able to help you. If a friend recommends a support group, you’re tagged in a workshop or keep hearing about a new form of therapy, just say yes. You never know where it might lead you.


Link to Guardian article here 

Social media leaves 30% of young people feeling lonely, study finds

Almost a third of young people say that technology such as social media is making them feel lonely, new research has found.

A report found 30 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds quizzed said technology such as social media is causing them to feel lonely as it has replaced face-to-face contact.

The study also found loneliness impacts on the mental health of many young people, with more than two-thirds (67 per cent) saying it worsened as a result of feeling lonely.

More than half (51 per cent) of those questioned for the Mental Health Foundation research said they experience depression when they feel lonely, with 42 per cent saying it leads to anxiety.

The Mental Health Foundation is calling for the Scottish Government to place health and wellbeing at the heart of the school curriculum to avoid an “imminent mental health storm”.

Social media use fuels feelings of loneliness among youths

With 2018 being Scotland’s Year of Young People, the charity warned too many young adults are struggling with mental health problems and is urging immediate action to tackle the problem.

Isabella Goldie, director of development and delivery at the Mental Health Foundation, said: “Loneliness among younger people is hugely under-reported but our research is clear that social isolation affects the mental health of young people more than any other age group.

“Our children are finding life harder to navigate than previous generations and, worryingly, they are living with high levels of distress. This is something we can no longer choose to ignore.

“Relationships and social connections remain at the heart of what makes and breaks our mental health.

“A child’s ability to communicate and form relationships is vital right from the point that they enter the education system if they are to thrive at school – and ‘school readiness’ is one of the strongest predictors of whether a child will go on to develop mental health problems.”

She added: “If the Scottish Government is serious about making 2018 the Year of Young People, then it must place health and wellbeing at the heart of the school curriculum – not at the sidelines as it currently is.

“It needs to invest in school-based counselling and give teachers the training they need to create inclusive environments and explore mental health.

“Too many of our young people are not thriving and unless we act now, we will face an imminent mental health storm.”

The charity said loneliness can contribute to stress, anxiety, depression, paranoia and cognitive decline, and is a well-known factor in suicide.

The study of 250 young people found more than eight in ten (82 per cent) said spending time face to face with others improves their mental health.

The research suggests the stigma of loneliness remains the greatest barrier to seeking help as 46 per cent said they would be too embarrassed to talk about it and 52 per cent feel they ought to cope with the problem themselves.

The research was carried out by YouGov at the end of November.



Link to Glasgow Live here 

Documentary to be made on mental health and suicide after death of Glasgow rapper Calum ‘Lumo’ Barnes

A POPULAR Glasgow rapper who died at the age of 21 will feature in a new documentary which is being made to raise awareness of the mental health and suicide crisis in young men.

Calum ‘Lumo’ Barnes was tragically discovered in the River Clyde last September and his death devastated the hip hop community in Glasgow where he gained fame through his band Deadsoundz Inc.

Now documentary maker Hannah Currie will show the impact of Calum’s death in a new film which is currently being made.

“Everyone still talks about him all the time. Everyone shares his music and photos of him. It is very much still fresh in the minds of everyone in the hip hop community.”

A Hip Hop event is being held on May 3 at The Classic Grand in a bid to raise funds to help complete production of the documentary.

The event is called We Are All Here which is inspired by a poem Calum wrote about mental health for See Me Scotland before he died.

Hannah, who lived in the city’s West End for 10 years before moving to London to complete her Masters degree, hopes to widely distribute the film in a bid to save others who are battling with suicidal thoughts.

She said: “The most important thing that Scotland needs right now is to address the mental health crisis. I have suffered from mental health issues myself and there needs to be system on how we will deal with the issue because what you have happen is a lot of people slip through the net.

“People feel they can’t be helped and they start to see suicide as an option.”

She added: “I have done a lot of research and in 2016 our suicide figures rose in Scotland for the first time in six years. It is just not good enough.

“We need to start seeing it as not a taboo thing because it is one of the most common killers of young people in the UK.

“We need to start seeing it as the real threat to our own friends and family. We need to do something about this because this could take somebody that we love. That is the worst nightmare.”

We Are All Here will feature some of Scotland’s most prominent rappers when it kicks of at 7pm.

There will be a rap battle between Loki and Oddacity as well as performances from other well-known names in the scene.

Tickets costing £5 are available from www.skiddle.com.



Link to Evening Times article here 

NHS Highland’s mental health staffing ‘under pressure’

New Craigs
NHS Highland is trying to fill 33 vacancies at New Craigs Hospital

NHS Highland has warned of a “significant pressure” on staffing levels in its mental health service.

The health board has 33 vacancies, 25 of them for registered mental health nurses, at its New Craigs Hospital in Inverness.

The situation has led to a temporary reduction in general adult beds.

NHS Highland said repeated efforts to recruit staff to fill gaps at the hospital and in the wider service had been unsuccessful.

The health board’s Michael Perera said nurse staffing levels in the mental health service of the Inner Moray Firth area had been under pressure since November 2016.

But he said gaps in the rota were now happening on a daily basis.

Staff retiring

Mr Perera, who is general manager for NHS Highland’s mental health services, said: “There is a significant shortage across the UK of mental health nurses.

“Our efforts to recruit, which have included attending four recruitment fairs across the UK, adverts in national journals and recruitment websites have been unsuccessful in attracting enough staff to meet the gaps that we have.

“In addition, nine of our current establishment of trained mental health nurses have indicated their plans to retire this year.”

He added: “This has left us with a significant pressure within inpatient services and if we don’t act now the safe running of the hospital is at risk.

“General adult beds within the hospital have been temporarily reduced from 48 to 42 while we continue to look at all options available to us in terms of staffing and the current and future demands of the service.”



Link to BBC article here 

“Losing faith”: the mental health crisis facing young Scots

With problems of mental health increasingly prevalent, and feelings of hopelessness and anxiety on the rise, what can be done to help Scotland’s young people?

OVER 40 per cent of Scotland’s young people said they have experienced a problem with their mental health in a new UK wide survey. 

Meanwhile, 51 per cent say they commonly feel anxious, 53 per cent speak of semi-constant stress, and one in five describe themselves as regularly feeling hopeless.

These findings were revealed in the latest figures released by the Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index, based on a survey of 2,194 people aged 16 to 25 from across the UK. The Index assesses numerous factors which inform young people’s wellbeing, from physical health to family environment to working conditions.

Now in its 10th year, the most recent findings from the index also suggest that the emotional health of Scotland’s young people has declined measurably year on year.

“This is a generation rapidly losing faith in their ability to achieve their goals in life, who are increasingly wary of and disillusioned with the jobs market.” Senior head of partnerships at Prince’s Trust Scotland Finlay Laverty

This data echoes the conclusions of a poll conducted among Scottish young people in January by YouGov on behalf of the Mental Health Foundation, which found that over half of Scots aged 18 to 24 have experienced poor mental health as a result of loneliness and social isolation.

Responding to the new Macquarie Youth Index, Finlay Laverty, senior head of partnerships at Prince’s Trust Scotland, argued that the high numbers of young Scots facing problems with their mental and emotional health was tied to the unforgiving circumstances they face, saying: “It should ring alarm bells for us all that young people in Scotland are feeling more despondent about their emotional health.

“This is a generation rapidly losing faith in their ability to achieve their goals in life, who are increasingly wary of and disillusioned with the jobs market. Scotland is at real risk of leaving a wealth of untapped potential to go to waste.”

Commenting further, Laverty went on to demand action from multiple sectors of Scottish society, in light of the problem’s national implications: “One of the most important things we can do to change this picture is show young people that it’s worth having high aspirations, that opportunities to earn a decent living and progress in a career are out there, and that they’ll be supported along the way to live, learn and earn.

“For this to happen, it is vital that government, charities, and employers across Scotland invest more in developing young people’s skills and in providing opportunities for them to progress in fulfilling sustainable careers.

“Unless we act now we will face an imminent mental health storm.” Mental Health Foundation director Isabella Goldie

“Commitments to initiatives that promote positive mental well-being should underpin this to help create a culture of openness, where young feel supported and listened to.”

While Laverty points to the need for opportunities and provisions of mental health care, the rising prominence of young people’s mental and emotional wellbeing on the Scottish political agenda has seen numerous factors highlighted recently.

Following the January YouGov poll, Mental Health Foundation director Isabella Goldie observed that “loneliness among younger people is hugely underreported, but our research is clear that social isolation affects the mental health of young people more than any other age group.

“Our children are finding life harder to navigate than previous generations, and worryingly, they are living with high levels of distress. This is something we can no longer choose to ignore.

Goldie went on to warn that without action, Scotland faced a crisis in the mental health of its youth: “Too many of our young people are not thriving and unless we act now we will face an imminent mental health storm.”

The Mental Health Foundation’s research identified the prevalence of social media as a factor in the social isolation of young people, a phenomenon recognised by Cinzia DuBois, an Edinburgh-based writer and digital media specialist who has spoken extensively about her own experiences with mental health.

“Perfectionism is killing the millennial generation, and every generation which follows.” Writer and digital media specialist Cinzia DuBois

Speaking to CommonSpace, DuBois said: “As a millennial, I lived over shift, but I remember self-harming by the age of seven. By the age of seven I was convinced that I wouldn’t amount to anything, the institutions that I was part of had already convinced me life and success was an ‘all or nothing’ game. Perfectionism is killing the millennial generation, and every generation which follows.

“Originally it was just the academic institutions which graded and compartmentalised students’ self-worth; but now the young generation have more opportunities to micro-analyse their value. It’s a well-known fact that social media platforms have been designed to be addictive. Technology has hijacked people’s minds; rather than sitting in a casino pulling on the handle of a slot machine, young people are posting from their phones.”

Earlier this year, the Mental Health Foundation noted the importance Scottish Government pledges on creating a strategy addressing social isolation, as well as establishing a Youth Commission on mental health. However, Goldie also called for increased investment in schools based counselling, and affirmed the necessity of adequate mental health training for teachers.

The Scottish Government has been at pains to emphasise its commitment to addressing concerns surrounding young Scots’ mental health. Responding to the latest Prince’s Trust figures, Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt told CommonSpace: “Providing a positive future for our young people is our top priority and this report shows that we must continue to do all we can to promote and improve wellbeing and to help children and young people thrive.

“Mental health needs to be something that everybody talks about, and reducing stigma and promoting discussion and early action are vital to ensuring that Scotland is the best place to grow up.” Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt

“Mental health needs to be something that everybody talks about, and reducing stigma and promoting discussion and early action are vital to ensuring that Scotland is the best place to grow up – especially in 2018, the Year of Young People.”

Watt pointed to the Scottish Government’s ongoing efforts in the area, saying: “Our 10-year Mental Health Strategy, backed by investment of £150 million over the next five years, sets out clearly how we can improve early intervention, and ensure better access to services. That includes specific actions to support young people.”

In addition to their Mental Health Strategy, the Scottish Government in March of this year announced the formation of a new youth commission on mental health services, formed from between 15 and 20 people aged 14 to 22, recruited from a variety of backgrounds. With funding of £95,000, the commission will report back to ministers over the course of its 15-month tenure with recommendations for improving provisions for young Scots’ mental health.

READ MORE: SNP youth wing urges party to do more for student mental health

However, criticisms of existing provisions in Scotland are long-standing and widespread.

In January, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), following the publication of their study ‘Going to Be… Well-Trained’, called on the Scottish Government to mark the Year of Young People by creating a programme to train all Scottish school staff in mental health after their survey revealed that more than two-thirds of teachers in Scotland do not feel they have received enough mental health training to properly carry out their role.

The survey also found one a third of school staff believed their school had an effective means of responding to mental health problems among pupils.

The importance of mental health provision within Scottish education was further underlined by SAMH, who have reported that half of all mental health problems in adulthood start by the mid-teens, while three-quarters have manifested by the time those suffering from them reach their mid-twenties.

Concerns within the education sector extend to colleges and universities, where the lack of adequate or available counselling for students has become increasingly controversial.

“It’s hard to understate the role that on-campus mental health services play in supporting students with mental ill health to access, remain, and succeed in education.” NUS Scotland president Luke Humberstone

Responding to the Prince’s Trust figures, NUS Scotland president Luke Humberstone told CommonSpace: “NUS Scotland has long highlighted the growing levels of mental ill health in Scotland’s students, and these figures are further evidence of the need to invest in mental health support as a matter of priority.

“It’s hard to understate the role that on-campus mental health services play in supporting students with mental ill health to access, remain, and succeed in education, breaking down barriers to the fantastic opportunities that education creates.

“However, the provision of these vital services across the country is patchy at best – with some institutions having a range of services on offer, while others have no on-campus counsellors available to students.”

Nevertheless, despite what improvements and new initiatives may be made by the Scottish Government or by the charity sector, within educational institutions or NHS Scotland, some have echoed Finlay Laverty’s warnings that the seemingly unfulfillable demands placed upon young people, particularly when reliable, fulfilling employment is increasingly scarce, can be a major factor in the nation’s worsening crisis of mental health.

READ MORE: Scottish pupils have been “failed” by lack of mental health training for teachers, charity says

In their 2017 report ‘Flexibility for Who? Millennials and mental health in the modern labour market’, the progressive think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research revealed that their analysis showed younger workers in part-time and temporary work are more likely to experience poorer mental health, with zero-hours contracts, low pay and job insecurity all listed as contributing factors to mental health problems.

The IPPR warns that, unless action is taken by government and employers, “younger workers face a future employment landscape that could damage their health and wellbeing”.

While Scotland, as of 2016, has the lowest rate of zero hours contracts in the UK, their presence remains a major aspect of the employment landscape, and millennial precarity is almost omnipresent through the developed world. Without significant upheaval or drastic reform, the economic factors driving the mental health issues of Scotland’s youth will not end soon.

Whether action on other levels of society will be enough to combat the unfolding crisis remains to be seen.



Link to Common Space article here