Kind volunteers took to the streets of Helensburgh to highlight the theme for Scotland's Breathing Space Day (1st February), '52 Weeks of Kindness'.
All ages in the community got involved - from the Helensburgh Youth Forum to members of the senior citizens organisation Grey Matters, as well as volunteers from the Dementia Resource Centre, the Welcome In, Visiting Friends and Route 81 Youth Project Garelochhead - to encourage members of the public to carry out acts of kindness, and to continue this for every week of the year.
The initiative is being launched on National Breathing Space Day, an annual awareness day which urges people in Scotland to take some 'breathing space' and look after their mental wellbeing. Young people from the GIVE volunteer programme took some time out to spread a little kindness on the streets of Helensburgh with ideas inspired by a 52 Weeks of Kindness calendar.
Pictured: Rosie Sumison and Ales Bates (GIVE volunteers) and Karen Muir (Youth Services).
Pictured: Jayne Burnett and Cameron McBride
This is part of a year-long programme of events led by Breathing Space, Scotland's mental health helpline, in partnership with Argyll and Bute Third Sector Interface (TSI) and other organisations across the country to highlight that little acts of kindness can have positive effects on your own mental health, and the mental health of others.
Maureen Watt MSP, Minister for Mental Health, said: “Looking after our mental health and wellbeing – and that of friends, family and colleagues - is crucial. I know from personal experience that acts of kindness not only help others but can also have a beneficial effect on our own health and wellbeing. This can help create a stronger sense of connection between people, helping to support confidence and wellbeing. "The Breathing Space telephone advice line and the NHS Living Life service provide an invaluable service for people experiencing low mood, depression and anxiety. It can make such a difference to know that there’s someone there who is willing to listen and offer an empathetic ear. I’d like to thank the Breathing Space and NHS Living Life teams for the compassion and kindness they demonstrate in their work to support people experiencing difficult times in their lives. “As Minister for Mental Health I am delighted to support the “52 Weeks of Kindness” initiative.”
Pictured: Diana Wilson (Welcome In), Moira Hyatt, John Campbell, Kerry McKay
Tony McLaren, Breathing Space National Coordinator said: "Whether it's checking in on elderly neighbours over the winter months, passing along a good book you've read, or smiling and saying hello to someone new, we can all make that little bit of effort to brighten someone's day. Research shows that being kind to others also has positive effects on our own mental health too." Breathing Space is a free telephone service where advisors offer care, compassion and advice over the phone to anyone feeling low, depressed or anxious. The service is open evenings and weekends on 0800 83 85 87.
Glenn Heritage, Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute TSI, said: “We work with thousands of volunteers across Argyll and Bute and we know that the work they do is good not just for their communities but for them as well because volunteering really promotes good mental health. “So we are delighted to be involved in this campaign to inspire people to carry out random acts of kindness – it’s like volunteering in miniature.”
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