A “marked increase” of Perth and Kinross young people have reached out for support amid the second lockdown, says a Perth mental health charity.
The Neuk – based in the city centre – is a multi-organisational charity that works to provide mental health support to Perthshire locals.
It has seen a rise in the number of people turning to it for support in the lead-up to the nationwide lockdown, especially among teenagers.
Sharon Thomas, manager at The Lighthouse for Perth – a charity based at The Neuk – says restrictions have put people’s mental wellbeing under further strain.
“The impact this time of year has on the mental wellbeing of many people, particularly those who struggle with their mental health has been magnified greatly by the current constraints we find ourselves under”, she said.
“Many factors already make the holidays so stressful: fatigue, unrealistic expectations, financial constraints due to the loss of income, but the inability to spend time with one’s family and friends this year has put an added strain on those who are struggling.”
She added: “The week leading up to Christmas, when the government announced the planned lockdown, saw a marked increase in those contacting The Lighthouse with concerns on how they would cope, particularly our younger cohort (12 to 18).
“The disappointment was devastating for a lot of people and although they understand the changes were needed this does not make it any easier to cope with.
“People are now at breaking point, more now than ever. The services that The Lighthouse and others provide at The Neuk are needed so badly and provide a lifeline to those struggling in these unprecedented times.”
But Ms Thomas praised the dedication of volunteers at The Neuk, who provided support over the festive period.
She said: “Mental health does not take holidays; Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day is just another day for those who are struggling.
“But thanks to the commitment of our amazing volunteers, we have been able to ensure our crisis support lines are available as normal over the festive period for anyone who may be struggling.”
Earlier this year, The Neuk held a Recovery Week to provide further information and support to anyone struggling with their mental health.
As the week began, Ms Thomas said the mental health effects of the pandemic could “last a decade”.
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