Coronavirus in Scotland: 'Things will get better' says Dr Alastair Cook as he reminds people that help is available for anyone that needs it
In today’s daily coronavirus briefing, the Principal Medical Officer for Mental Health, Dr Alastair Cook, focused on one main message, telling people across the country that “if you need help, it is out there.”
Dr Cook recognised this time of year as being very difficult for lots of people even “at the best of times.”
He said: "Blue Monday, isn't the clinical term, but it captures the sense that short days, poor weather, the end of the festive season, all come together, and with the current restrictions as well, it's no wonder if this feels like a struggle.”
He continued: “Even though we’re in the middle of winter right now, things will get better.
"But in the meantime, the negative impact that we may be feeling is real, the phrase we sometimes use; it's okay not to feel okay is as relevant now, as it has ever been.”
To try to combat the mental health struggles that are accompanying the pandemic, the Scottish Government has updated its website Clear Your Head with a link to tips on taking care of yourself this winter.
Dr Cook said: “It contains advice on how to stay well, but also links to help and support for your mental health.”
He continued: “Please do not wait for something you think is minor to get worse.
"If you're worried or feeling overwhelmed and the information on Clear Your Head isn't working for you, you can talk to your GP or call NHS 24 on 111, that service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"NHS 24 can offer immediate support or direct you to services that are available in your local area.”
In addition to comments from Dr Cook, the First Minister reminded people that the National Assistance Helpline, which was set up in April, is still taking calls from Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm each day.
She said: “If you phone the helpline, you will be put through to your local authority, who will help you to get the assistance you need – that might be essential food and medicine, it might be emotional support, or contact with volunteer groups."
The National Assistance Helping can be reached on 0800 111 4000.