Key mental health services to support families and young people will receive nearly £873,000 of additional funding from the SNP Government, comprising:
£768,000 for a relationships helpline to be delivered by The Spark counselling service;
£105,000 to support Young Scot to develop enhanced digital content and mental health resources.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP said:
“While everyone is experiencing different challenges at this time, the mental health of children, young people and families can be under great strain.
“We appreciate that spending a lot of time together in isolation and home-working, home-schooling and juggling childcare can be really tough. Many people are dealing with anxiety, uncertainty, anger or sadness and may feel overwhelmed with relationships placed under pressure.
“We want to ensure the right help and support is in place for the mental wellbeing of our children, young people and families. This package of measures focuses on prevention and recovery and on maintaining healthy relationships throughout the current restrictions. It follows the launch of our national campaign, Clear Your Head, last week.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Whether you live alone, with a partner or family, these are trying times. The temporary inability to socialise with friends can weigh on anyone.
“While living alone during lockdown can lead to intense feelings of loneliness, being cooped up with no break from loved ones can lead to irritation, however much you love them.
“Clear Your Head and the Spark can help obtain clarity in how to find a sustainable way to adapt to this ongoing situation. While lockdown is still ongoing, I recommend looking at these. If you need help, it is out there.”
The Clear Your Head campaign highlights practical ways to look after mental health and wellbeing while continuing to stay at home and signposts sources of help and advice.
The Spark Relationship Helpline is 0808 802 2088 and this additional funding will enable it to operate Monday to Thursday 9am to 9pm and Friday 9am to 4pm.
Scotland has also launched a digital resource called Mind Yer Time specifically to help children and young people learn about the healthy use of screens and social media. It supports mental and physical health online and was developed by the Scottish Youth Parliament and Children’s Parliament. In the first ten days after its launch the guide had almost 13,000 views.