You need never be lonely on the Western Isles

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For some people Christmas and New Year can be a difficult time with festive cheer in short supply.

But the Western Isles Association for Mental Health and the Samaritans want people who might not have anyone else to turn to, to talk to them.

In a joint message with the Point and Sandwick Trust, they said: ‘It’s good to talk – and we are here.’

Social isolation is becoming an increased problem, but the WIAMH base on Bayhead in Stornoway is available for drop in sessions for those who might be struggling.

Del Gunn is the Project Manager for WIAMH, he said: ‘When everybody seems to be celebrating, others aren’t. For them, it’s not a time of celebration. Some people actually dread Christmas coming along.

‘This is not always a good time and the message to the public is, if you know someone who is struggling in your own community, talk to them. There’s a good chance they’ll really appreciate it. Just talk to people. And if you pass someone in the street, say ‘hi’ or ‘hello’. It can mean the world to someone who is experiencing a lot of loneliness at this time of year.’

The centre will be open on the week of New Year on Monday, Tuesday and Friday until 4pm and until 3pm on Saturday.

People can call in for a cup of tea and a friendly face to the Stornoway base, but anyone who is in need of urgent help is encouraged to call 111 for NHS 24 acute services.

Samaritans can be reached on 116 123 for a confidential chat.