A charity in the north of Scotland has been supporting youth volunteers to empower their peers to open up about mental health and suicide prevention during this Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 Feb).
Mikeysline, a mental health charity based in the Highlands, started its youth champion scheme last year. So far, 70 young people across the region have been recruited to help fundraise and raise awareness of the charity’s work. Mikeysline has also worked in 26 schools, educating young people about the mental health resources and support that is available to them.
The youth champions also help to develop messaging for the charity that is accessible and will appeal to their peers. The scheme was recognised at the Scottish Youth Parliament’s annual conference in 2021. The youth champions are involved in a variety of activities to promote Mikeysline’s services, from setting up mental health notice boards in schools to liaising with local businesses about stocking resources, fundraising at community events, and engaging with a younger audience on TikTok.
Ross Kinnaird, a Mikeysline youth champion, commented:
“Every youth champion is really passionate about breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide prevention.
“Having youth champions in every school in the Highlands and Moray is so important. We have been able to spread the word about Mikeysline around Nairn through our activities – and it would be amazing to see that happening in even more towns across the area.
“If anyone out there is passionate about mental health, I would really encourage them to get involved with Mikeysline to help make a difference. Being a youth champion is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s incredibly rewarding.”
Emily Stokes, CEO of Mikeysline added:
“Our youth champions are doing incredible work in schools and communities across the Highlands and Moray, and we’re so proud of their efforts. They’re making a huge difference in spreading the word about the services Mikeysline offers to those experiencing issues with mental health, emotional distress and suicide – ensuring young people get access to the information they need.”
Since 2015, Mikeysline has offered confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages with mental health issues or in emotional distress in the Highlands and Moray via a text line service at 07786 207755, as well as via live chat, Twitter and Messenger. The charity also offers face-to-face support from three Hives across the area – at its Inverness headquarters; at Tesco in Tain; and at Am Bothan Community Café by Skiach, Evanton.