Groups provide support for people suffering from bad mental health and suicide

Holyrood Notebook by Rhoda Grant

Wendy and Patrick Mullery of the Black Isle founded the James Support Group in memory of their son.

There are many community groups in Caithness helping people with mental health problems, and I know the number of suicides in the Highlands, especially during the pandemic, is still a matter of concern.

So it was good to hear that another organization, the James Support Group, founded by family and friends after the death of 28-year-old James Mullery, was expanding to Thurso.

My contact with the NHS Highland and mental health groups operating in the area has raised many issues including where to get personal help, distances to central services, the lack of psychiatrists and the need for permanent safe Place for patients in an emergency.

The health authority is eager to iron out problems but faces an uphill battle as the Scottish government receives no funding, especially in the area of ​​adult mental health.

The James Support Group was originally formed because James’ family and friends were struggling to find meaningful help to cope with a young Black Isle family man who was ending his life.

Last year it managed to become a charity and was then able to offer support to others, including monthly support groups, face-to-face meetings and a hotline, and there is a list of other supporting organizations on the website.

The grief and “what if” of the families left behind are not to be underestimated, and for those who did not suffer such a tragic death, it is difficult to understand what it is like.

Good luck to everyone involved.

Right to a meal bill – advice out again

Readers may recall that I was disappointed when my right to food law was struck in October when it was not allowed to go ahead in the Scottish Parliament without a second public hearing.

It was Parliament’s Equal Opportunities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee that voted 4 to 3 to stop the bill without further consultation.

But now I can start this consultation again and I want people and organizations to be involved. In addition to interested voters, those who attend food banks and groups running food-based charities are also welcome to share their views.

I am determined to have the right to food under Scottish law to help the tens of thousands of people in Scotland who live in food poverty as we near 2022.

We all have a right to food because of international obligations. Even so, Scotland’s reliance on tablets and other free food sources is growing. The pandemic has only exacerbated this, making the need for action even more urgent.

My former MSP colleague and friend, Elaine Smith, first consulted on how to enshrine the right to food in Scottish law and how to set up a non-governmental organization to oversee its implementation. The proposal received widespread support, and when Elaine stepped down from Parliament in last year’s elections, I took over the baton.

Since the summer I have been meeting community groups, charities and organizations that have an interest in the right to food in order to get a better picture of the core issues from experts.

Passing this law would mean that it would be the responsibility of the Scottish government to ensure that food is available, accessible and adequate for all.

Please see my website for more information on how to respond to the consultation.

  • Rhoda Grant is a Labor MSP for the Highlands and Islands.


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