According to the Scottish Government, one third of the population is estimated to experience mental health conditions, highlighting an urgent need for wellbeing support nationwide.
High Life Highland is proud to have launched the Culloden Mind Hub, a weekly community café designed to reduce isolation and loneliness associated with poor mental health by offering a variety of community-based wellness exercises, activities, and talks, at no cost.
The first of the series took place at Culloden Library & Community Centre on Monday 15th May in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week (15th-21st May), welcoming over 40 attendees into the space throughout the day.
The initiative was made possible with generous support from the Public Library Improvement Fund and Highland Council’s Ward Discretionary Fund (Wards 17 and 19).
High Life Highland’s Network Librarian, Michelle Gowans, explains: “As post-Covid recovery continues, and the Cost of Living crisis puts pressure on household finances, it is more important than ever to look out for the wellbeing of the community and offer opportunities to improve mental health.
“That’s why I am keen that Culloden Mind Hub is seen as a safe, inclusive, intergenerational space, where everybody in the community is welcome to join in on our diverse programme.
“In our pilot session, we had several mindful activities that attendees of all ages could choose from, including board games, jigsaws, crafts, and gentle movement-based sessions. There were also refreshments and snacks available for the duration.
“The feedback was really everyone viewed it as a successful event which wouldn’t have been possible without support from Highland Mindfulness Group, who hosted a number of meditation sessions, and Mikeysline, who played a key role in spreading mental health information and support. Both organisations were present on the launch day.
“And, of course, perhaps one of the highlights from the launch was a visit by Alfie the Schnauzer – a trained therapy dog, or ‘therapet’ – from Canine Concern Scotland Trust, who greeted every guest with a happy tail-wag. Therapets are known to provide comfort while alleviating the effects of stress, depression, and anxiety.
Michelle Gowans concluded: “At Culloden Mind Hub, we aim to be as flexible in our sessions as possible to suit the needs and preferences of those in attendance. In future, we plan to invite guest speakers and facilitators, further diversifying our current offering.
“Collaboration within the community is essential for the success of events like Mind Hub, so we welcome any ideas you may have for future activities within the sessions.”
“Steve Walsh, High Life Highland’s Chief Executive, said: “It is really great to hear that the Culloden Mind Hub has been so well received in the local community.
“Supporting people’s mental health is so important in the current climate, so it is really encouraging to see Michelle and the team at Culloden Library taking the initiative forward and working with other charity partners in such a positive way.”
If you or your loved ones are struggling with your mental health, but you are unsure of where to look for information or help, please visit the Highland Mental Wellbeing website for a useful directory: https://www.highlandmentalwellbeing.scot.nhs.uk/
If you need urgent help, please know you are not alone. Mikeysline is a local, grassroots, mental health charity offering direct support to those who need it most.
You can access their helpline by sending a text message via SMS to 07786 207755 (available Sunday to Thursday 6pm-10pm, and 7pm-7am on weekends) or by visiting The Hive, 19 Academy Street, Inverness, open every day from 6pm-10pm.