A fund launched last year to tackle social isolation, loneliness and mental health inequalities made worse by the pandemic has been awarded a further £15 million.
The Scottish Government said the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for adults has helped nearly 2,000 community projects to deliver activities and programmes in its first year.
It has supported a wide range of groups including those for older people, individuals with long-term health conditions or disabilities, people living in rural areas and the LGBT community.
The fund has also supported projects including sports, outdoor initiatives, arts and crafts and nature activities.
The new investment will allow the fund to continue for another year.
Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness, and we know the pandemic has brought this issue into much greater focus.
“The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has supported many projects that help to make people feel less isolated.
“The fund was set up to build and develop capacity within community organisations and grassroots groups so they can support people’s mental health and wellbeing. I am pleased that so many projects benefited in the first year.
“This investment reflects the importance we place on promoting good mental health and early intervention for those facing mental health challenges, ensuring that people can access a range of different types of support to match their needs.
“It will help us to continue to support a range of valuable community mental health and wellbeing projects across Scotland.”
Cowal Elderly Befrienders in Dunoon, Argyll and Bute, is one organisation which has received funding.
It works with men aged 65 and over to reduce social isolation in a group known to be hard to reach.
Robin Miller, project co-ordinator, said: “Many of the men we support are keen to remain as independent as possible and do not initially reach out for help, it can take weeks or months of sympathetic support to build up confidence, trust and an acceptance of outside help.
“Our work also allows older people to make a positive contribution to the work in the small groups we work with.
“Our older men often support each other, thereby increasing their sense of self-worth and allowing them to actively further our aims.”