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Mikeysline brings family support services to Dingwall Primary School in response to increasing demand

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Rachel Hughes. Picture: Alison Gilbert
Rachel Hughes. Picture: Alison Gilbert

A mental health charity in the Highlands has set up its newest family support service in Dingwall Primary School.

It follows the success of the Merkinch Family Project, whivh was set up by Mikeysline last April to support parents and carers at the Inverness primary school. Over the last six months, the project has seen increasing demand across the city.

The charity has now established a similar family support hub in Dingwall, putting itself at the heart of another school community and offering wider support services.

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Mikeysline development manager Rachel Hughes explained: “After spending the time to establish and develop the Merkinch project, it’s great to be in a position where we can now take this model and shape it to fit other communities in the region. Mikeysline has previously worked alongside Dingwall Primary School on various mental health projects and we’re excited to be embarking on this new service together.

“With the community family centre already set up within the school, we are well placed to serve the parents and carers who are in need of advice and support. This will include having a trained Mikeysline support worker stationed in the centre every Tuesday from 1:30-3:00pm.”

Similar to the Inverness Family Centre, the Dingwall Family Centre also provides additional support services to its local community – including a baby bank – to help local families through the current financial crisis.

Rachel continued: “In the last couple of years, we’ve seen more and more parents and carers coming to us for advice and support. This includes helping individuals who are struggling with feelings of isolation; those who are new to parenting; families who are supporting their children through the struggles of bullying, self-harm and mental health; and, those who feel the weight of the world resting on their shoulders.

“With a wealth of support services available onsite, including a foodbank, baby bank and clothes drive, we hope to be an added resource to this community and the teams who are already working to support its residents. Together we can show that it’s ok not to be ok and most importantly, it’s ok to ask for help.”

Since 2015, Mikeysline has offered confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages with mental health issues or in emotional distress in the Highlands and Moray via a text line service at 07786 207755, WhatsApp on 01463 729000, as well as via live chat, Twitter and Messenger. The charity also offers face-to-face support from four Hives across the area – at its Inverness headquarters; in Tain, Alness and Nairn.

The Merkinch Family Project is located in the Inverness Family Centre on Telford Street, next to Merkinch Primary School. Visitors can access advice and guidance from a trained Mikeysline support worker, every Friday morning until 2:00pm. The team works alongside the Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) to provide families with free childcare during their appointments.

The Dingwall family hub is located in Dingwall Primary School, with a trained Mikeysline support worker available every Tuesday between 1:30pm and 3:00pm.

For more information about the charity, visit www.mikeysline.co.uk – or find Mikeysline on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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