We will be there for all the challenges to come after this most difficult of years - Colin Leslie

This winter marked a significant milestone in our charity’s history – ten years since we changed our operating name to Support in Mind Scotland from the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (Scotland).

The new name was introduced to reflect the wider scope of mental health support we now provide, and while we retain an area of expertise in addressing the issues around serious mental illnesses, particularly psychosis and schizophrenia, we are proud of the range and diversity of our work.

The 10th anniversary of our name change was celebrated at our annual Members’ Event last month (online, where else?) with a nostalgic look back at our journey over the past decade. While it was reassuring to see the progress we have made, it also reminded us how crucial it is for mental health services such as ours to be there for the many people affected by mental ill health. Perhaps now more than ever, after this year like no other.

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It is safe to say we will all be happy to put 2020 behind us. What lies in front of us in 2021 however? There is certainly new-found hope and optimism – fuelled by the arrival of vaccines for Covid-19 – but there is also an expectation that the pandemic will continue to take its toll on people’s mental health, as they battle anxiety and depression, financial worries and the continued lack of social contact.

We anticipate a surge in demand from people seeking support, help or information, and we are committed to doing all we can to help, especially when we are able to take a step back towards ‘normality’ and fully re-open our buildings so we can properly engage face-to-face with those who access our services.

The initial lockdown and subsequent restrictions have required patience and resilience all round, and our staff are desperate to getting back to what they do best – providing compassionate support in a space where people affected by mental illness can feel safe and connected to their community. The video we produced to show the highlights of our work since 2010 only served to heighten that sense of yearning.

One fitting feature of the video was its soundtrack – provided by singer/songwriter Kirsten Adamson, who is the daughter of Big Country and Skids legend Stuart Adamson.

Kirsten’s track ‘Let Me Live’, released as a charity single in aid of SiMS, was written and recorded during lockdown. Missing her mother one evening and thinking of lost loved ones, Edinburgh mum Kirsten produced this heartfelt song of emotion and honesty and a story of unbearable severance.

"In a flood of tears, the song came tumbling out,” she said. “With grave circumstances in hospitals and care homes coming to light I couldn’t control my emotions. As the release of Let Me Live grew closer and the country started to go into tiered lockdowns I began to fear once more for people's mental health. I wanted to help in the most direct way I could and Support In Mind Scotland really stood out as a charity who supports those who are most urgently in need.

“So many people I know have suffered with poor mental health this year, some who have had no history of mental illness in the past and for those who already had existing problems this year has been devastating. I want to raise awareness of how important good mental health is to our wellbeing and to get help to those who need it most."

Kirsten’s message is one that we embrace. Just as we have been there for people in 2020, during these most challenging of times, we will be there for you in 2021.

Colin Leslie, Communications and Fundraising Manager, Support in MInd Scotland. Donate to Support in Mind Scotland’s Winter Appeal on our website. Call our information line on 0300 323 1545

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