SNP - Tom Wills

Mental health research

SHETLAND charity Mind Your Head is encouraging islanders to take part in a study into the provision of mental health services across Scotland. 

The study has been commissioned by Talking Couch, a start-up aiming to launch a piece of software to help bridge the gap between counsellors and those seeking counselling.

The video service would enable those seeking counselling to access a directory of counsellors across the UK and get an online video counselling session. The user will be able to track their daily progress through Talking Couch’s innovative behavioural tracking system, which will also be visible to the counsellor.

Scotland’s rural communities have struggled in recent years to retain healthcare professionals and Talking Couch is aiming ensure that those who want to access mental health services can.

Talking Couch chief executive Gavin Donald said: “Talking Couch is a product of my own experiences with mental health. Having suffered mental ill health for most of my teenage and adult life, I am all too aware of how debilitating it can be.

“There is still an unfortunate stigma that surrounds mental health problems and that can act as a barrier to sufferers in seeking help.

“Shetland poses unique challenges in mental health services due to the geography and remoteness. We are interested in hearing about the experience that local people have had with mental health services and the views will ultimately help to shape our final product.”

In 2014 Mind Your Head completed its second community mental health survey in the islands. Within that, concerns were expressed about mental health services and support available in the community.

Since then, Mind Your Head has been working to develop new support services for adults and young people.

Its team leader Jacqui Clark said: “I would encourage people to take time to complete the Talking Couch survey and consider how that could make a difference to accessing support in Shetland.”

  • You can access the study here.


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