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MSYPs’ mental health focus

Shetland MSYP Kelvin Anderson.

SHETLAND’s two Scottish Youth Parliament members are hoping to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health by working with local decision-makers on the issue in the coming months.

Mental health is one of the parliament’s main areas of focus this year and it is up to new MSYP Kelvin Anderson and the re-elected Kaylee Mouat to enforce its campaign in the isles.

Anderson, who was elected as a MSYP last year, feels Shetland is a region particularly blighted by mental health issues.

The youth politicians will aim to increase awareness of the topic in the isles, as well as acting as advocates for a “high quality” mental health service for young people.

“As a parliament, we all feel it’s an issue that needs to be tackled,” Anderson said.

“That’s especially true in Shetland, where mental health is surrounded by so much stigma, so we feel like we need to tackle this through working with local organisations and decision makers in Shetland.

“We hope to advocate high quality mental health service and information provision for all of Scotland’s young people, with supporting guidance on best practice for service providers, to encourage the use of a common language in order to promote positive conversations and tackle stigma associated with young people’s mental health.”

MSYP Kaylee Mouat, who was first elected in 2013.

The MSYP said that focusing on people’s mental health at a young age could stop the issue at its root before issues may escalate.

The campaign will be “right at the heart of our work over the next year”, Anderson added.

The issue of mental health provision in Shetland has come under sharp focus in recent months, with some patients publicly criticising long waiting times and an apparent lack of awareness.

Last year NHS Shetland added more staff to its psychiatric service after admitting they were not meeting their targets.

Local charity Mind Your Head is also in the middle of a successful video campaign to encourage men to speak more freely about their struggles.