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To mark Mental Health Awareness Week we hear from someone with real-life experience of the support available in Orkney:

“During primary and secondary I dealt with bullying as well as a couple of other incidents that greatly affected my mental health. I found help after a long time of searching and figuring things out.

The first place I asked for help was at the secondary school, I didn’t find the right support for me there, but they did put me in contact with ORSAS, the schools do have contact information for places you can speak to about what’s bothering you.

ORSAS saved my life – I can say for a fact that I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and the kindness and understanding they showed me. They were approachable, friendly, knowledgeable and would stick up for me and listen to what I wanted. They also comforted me one day, when I had walked in extremely upset and sat with me and spoke for a while and made sure I was okay.

Right There has also helped me a huge amount.  I speak to one of their support workers now who are available to people living in or out of housing. Depending on what you want or need they can help with many different things but are also there to talk to.

There are also other charities that I have seen that provide mental health services who I have been to, but just didn’t gel with as well, going to a place designed to help people with mental health issues usually is better than alternative places.

I also found joining the rugby club really helped as it felt like I was part of something, it gave me something to focus on, and I made one of my first friends there during the time I was being bullied.

Sometimes it can take a few attempts before you find the right place/ person to help you, but don’t give up, I got extremely close but I’m still going, and the search for help isn’t as hopeless as it can first feel. There are people out there providing amazing help. I can also promise you, you are not alone if you struggle with your mental health, I’ve met so many people in Orkney who struggle with mental health issues.”