New Lochaber workshops for dealing with mental health and suicide prevention

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Fort William, Kinlochleven and Mallaig were the venues this week for workshops launching a new initiative dealing with mental health and suicide prevention.

Highland Community Planning Partnership (HCPP) launched its Lochaber Cares workshops at the beginning of this week as part of a community approach to improving mental health and wellbeing for people across Lochaber.

The aim is for the community working together to break down barriers surrounding mental health and let people know support is available.

Toolbox Talks have been used by the construction industry for years to communicate essential health and safety information to employees.

The HCPP has adapted the concept for use in community settings to generate discussions around mental health and wellbeing.

The first talk is on Suicide Awareness, Intervention and Prevention. Identifying a person experiencing crisis, trauma and mental health issues is now, more than ever, a public health priority.

Covid-19 and the restrictions put in place to contain the virus, coupled with people living in poverty, financial hardship and unemployment, facing severe/chronic illness, suicide and sudden bereavement have significantly increased the risk of people experiencing a decline in mental wellness.

The Highland Council age-standardised rate for mental illness and suicide is significantly higher than Scotland as a whole, for both men and women in 2016-2020.