HIGHLAND mental health and suicide prevention charity, Mikeysline, is driving Scottish mental health services forward with the launch of its mobile support hive – the first of its kind in Scotland.
Offering mobile support to areas that have limited access to the charity’s face-to-face mental health and suicide prevention services, Mikeysline’s ‘Hive on the Road’ will provide a safe and comfortable space for Highland and Island residents to receive one-to-one support.
CEO of Mikeysline, Emily Stokes, said: “It is with huge thanks to the Wolfson Foundation and Anderson Strath, who helped fund this project, that we have been able to set the wheels in motion on our new mobile support service.
“The Scottish Highlands has the second highest suicide rate in Scotland, with higher rates affecting remote rural areas, where access and availability to mental health support is limited.
“The introduction of our mobile Hive, therefore, really is a testament to the innovation and determination of our team to make mental health and suicide prevention services more accessible to all those living in the north of Scotland.”
While it’s not uncommon for vans and buses to be converted into mobile information hubs, Mikeysline’s new Ford Transit L2 H2 is going one step further by offering one-to-one mental health support alongside providing useful resources and information.
Brogan Bowie, operations manager at Mikeysline, added: “The launch of our Hive on the Road has been an incredibly huge step forward for Mikeysline, allowing us to reach more people across the Highlands and Islands, including Fort William, Orkney, Caithness and Skye.
“Taking our services on the road will help us spread our message further, with our van doubling up as a mobile billboard, spreading our message far and wide wherever our team goes.”
Having received significant funding from the Wolfson Foundation to purchase the van, Mikeysline was able to enlist the help of local business Vulcan Van Conversions to bring its vision to life. With a nature-themed aesthetic that brings together greens, creams and whites – alongside a signature Mikeysline feature wall, carpeted floors, and comfortable seating area – the space is designed to invite you in. It also includes a disability access ramp for those who need it.
Speaking about the project, Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation, commented: “Mikeysline is playing a vital role in providing timely, high quality mental health support in Inverness.
“However, it was clear from their application for funding, that there is a need to trial new ways of reaching people in rural areas; areas with high rates of mental health distress, that are considered remote and hard to reach. Therefore, we are delighted to help them launch this new mobile service.”
Since 2015, Mikeysline has offered confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages dealing with mental health issues, emotional distress or thoughts of suicide in the Highlands, Islands and Moray. It does this via a text line service at 07786 207755; WhatsApp at 01463 729000 and via its website; and live chat, Twitter and Messenger via its website.
The charity also produces a popular podcast, Speaking of Suicide; provides support for businesses; works closely with teachers and pupils in schools across the north of Scotland; and offers face-to-face support in Hives across the region – at its Inverness headquarters, and in Alness, Nairn, Tain, Balintore and Portmahomack. Here, service users can engage in one-to-one support, or at some venues join in group sessions for adults, men, families and school communities.