Since its poignant inception in 2015, Mikeysline has been helping people with thoughts of suicide.
And now, the charity has received a double funding boost that means it can maintain its Inverness operation while rolling out its work to other parts of the Highlands.
Thanks to a £25,000 boost from the Inverness Common Good Fund the Hive drop-in centre on Academy Street has received around 25% of its annual funding needs.
That comes as Dingwall woman Samantha Steven is preparing to deliver a £4,000 cheque which will help Mikeysline establish outreach crisis centres in Fortrose, Dingwall, Elgin and Aviemore for those who are unable to access mental health services across the region.
The Highlands and Islands suffer the worst suicide rates in Britain, particularly among young men: between the years 2013-17 in the Highlands alone 17 in 100,000 took their own life and in Orkney numbers reach 18 per 100,000.
Last month, the Scottish Government announced the creation of a new task force to investigate every suicide in Scotland and to cut self-inflicted deaths by 20% in four years.
In 2015, Michael “ Mikey” Williamson killed himself after a night out to remember his friend Martin Shaw who it is also feared had committed suicide.
Ron Williamson decided to take action to prevent what happened to his nephew happening to someone else and set up Mikeysline text, call and drop-in centre to offer support to people experiencing mental health problems.
He said: “We started three years ago with one telephone and two volunteers, now we have crisis centre in the heart of Inverness that costs £100,000 a year to maintain”
Despite 77% of all suicides in Scotland involving men, Mr Williamson underlined that “Mikeysline is open to anyone, to all, but a lot of the problem we face in the Highlands is the long-term macho image of men.”
He said: “When I was in business the biggest lie was “the cheque is in the post” but now the most common lie is “I am fine” and they are not fine. What Mikeysline is doing is saying there is no shame in having a mental illness, there is no shame in being depressed.
“Many, many people who commit suicide have never seen their GP at a certain point you’ve got to look in the mirror and ask is the person looking back at me okay? If the answer is no then you need to talk to someone, family member, a professional, anyone.”
Speaking about the outreach programme Mr Williamson said there is “no quick fix – it took two years before young people in Inverness started trusting us.
“The outreach is in its very early stages and because of the confidentiality that surrounds us I won’t say how many came to Fortrose but we certainly tested the water there.”
He added: “We know that we will be sitting in empty rooms with nobody visiting but we are dogged enough to do that and keep coming back but it is not going to be overnight.”