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Mikeysline has been busier than ever and due to Covid they are expanding

Emily Stokes, chief executive of Mikeysline, outside the Hive in Inverness.

Mikeysline has seen a rise in the demand for mental health services in the Highlands over the past year and so the Inverness charity is looking to expand its services in 2022.

With the Covid-19 pandemic and the various lockdowns throughout 2021, the charity has noted the impact this has had on people’s mental health.

Mikeysline has seen the number of people accessing their services “treble” from before the pandemic till now.

The charity assists the public through text-based services, drop-ins and community outreach using the tagline “it’s ok not to be ok”.

With pressure placed on services, Mikeysline has expanded its team with four full-time, seven part-time and over 40 volunteers.

Collectively, the team makes sure that their services are readily available for anyone suffering from mental health issues, not only brought on by the pandemic.

During the past year, the charity has expanded its support services with two centres in Tain and Skiach.

Mikeysline is also looking to open a new “Hive” in Nairn and would be the charity’s first base of operations outside the Highlands.

Mikeysline services will expand in 2022 with a new Hive in Moray

As they are resource-limited, the two additional centres can only offer services one day a week and looking to expand in the new year.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, the charity sees a need for further support across the regions and in particular remote areas where services are scarce.

Emily Stokes, chief executive of Mikeysline, said: “It’s been an extremely busy year for Mikeysline. We have had to make a lot of adaptations to make sure we can deliver our services.

“We saw a huge increase in the use of our services in 2021, via our text-based services which we expanded and our face-to-face services at the Hive.

In addition to their regular services, Mikeysline launched an additional young person face-to-face service working with those aged 11 to 25 across 22 schools in the region.

“We were very keen to go outside Inverness and we were very aware of the need for services in the more remote areas in Highland and although we have only gone as far as Easter Ross this year we hope to go further in 2022.

“We have developed new Hives in Tain and Skiach and we are hoping that in early 2022 we will find a location in Nairn and then other locations where there is a real need for face-to-face support.

‘Aware of the need for services in the more remote areas in Highland’

In addition to the new centres, Mikeysline will also be utilising a call-back service in 2022 that the public can use.

The charity has also seen a “huge increase” in people suffering from anxiety the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic with the Omicron variant.

Ms Stokes added: “Our challenge has been to help those people who we feel needed to access additional clinical support.”

“It has been three times busier than before the pandemic but we were set up to support people when they most needed us and we have had a lot of support from the community.

“We are very grateful to be in the position to be available to people who need us.”

To find out more about the services Mikeysline offers click here.

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