23rd September 2017

Staff recruited as charity prepares to offer support

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Mental health charity Mind Your Head is ready to launch a new one-to-one support service at the end of this month, after getting new staff in place.

Four new members of staff have joined the Mind Your Head team, as they look ahead to the launch of three new services offering support to local people and carers.

The organisation’s expansion has been made possible thanks to £300,000 in Big Lottery and EU Leader funding, to be donated to the charity over the next three years.

The new services will officially launch at the annual Mind Your Head fun run in Cunningsburgh on 27th August, with manager Anouska Civico stressing that the team is now “ready and waiting” to take referrals.

Two full-time staff members – Derry Meredith and Aimee Barclay – will be overseeing the wellness programme. This service will be open to anyone aged 18 and over and will assist those who have been “experiencing changes in their mood and behaviour”, Mrs Civico said.

The gender balance of one male and one female wellness practitioner is also important, the manager said, with some people accessing the service possibly preferring to specify the sex of the person assisting them.

Both Mr Meredith and Ms Barclay will be able to see 16 people per quarter and will offer assistance in combatting the “early warning signs” that something is not right, to help “improve overall mental well-being”. They will primarily assist those whose problems are not so severe they require assistance from an overburdened and under-resourced NHS service.

Though they are not counsellors Mr Meredith and Ms Barclay will bring relevant experience to their new posts. The former has experience in support services through his work with two different charities in Perth, while the latter has experience working for youth services, Women’s Aid and in social care.

Joining Mr Meredith and Ms Barclay part-time is Charity Johnson, who will be offering help to anyone caring for someone with mental health problems. This could include carers and guardians as well as friends and colleagues.

Mrs Johnson brings extensive third sector experience to her new role, and has worked in mental health support previously at Annsbrae House.
Also recently recruited is Joanna Breeze, who will work part-time as an admin assistant.

Meanwhile, a new series of monthly planned activities is also to be launched, with the idea being to “promote conversations” and offer social events to those accessing the service.

Originally launched in 2005 Mind Your Head has worked to raise awareness of, and reduce stigma around, mental health issues, thanks to huge support from the local community.

Mrs Civico said that the charity had occasionally benefitted from small pots of funding but had relied heavily on the local community to support its work. The recent grant from the Big Lottery and Leader represents a huge vote of confidence for the service.

• Mind Your Head will hold an open day for people to find out more about the new services today at Market House between 11am – 3pm.

About Keegan Murray

Reporter for The Shetland Times. Interested in politics, literature and music. Born and bred Shetlander. Long suffering Newcastle United supporter.

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