Poppyscotland open day to raise awareness of mental health issues

Photo Caption:-  News release: Wednesday, 21st March 2018; for immediate release
 AIR MARSHAL GIVES POPPYSCOTLAND’S LATEST VENTURE ITS OFFICIAL OPENING Poppyscotland’s newest welfare centre, The MacRobert Centre, which will serve the near-40,000 members of the Armed Forces community living in and around Ayrshire, was officially opened by Air Marshal Stuart Atha today (Wednesday, 21st March 2018). Air Marshal Atha, 55, who is the Deputy Commander Operations and was born just a few miles away from the new Poppyscotland Ayrshire Welfare Centre, in Kilmarnock, was joined by The MacRobert Trust’s Chairman (Elect), local dignitaries, fellow members of the Armed Forces, veterans and the charity’s Chief Executive, Mark Bibbey. The West of Scotland has enjoyed close links with the Armed Forces for many years. Around 37,000 individuals who have served or are still serving, and their families live in the area, and now, thanks to generous funding from both The MacRobert Trust and LIBOR, Poppyscotland has opened this specialist support and advice centre in Kilmarnock to provide one-to-one local contact. Commenting on the opening, Air Marshal Atha said: “As someone brought up in Kilmarnock and a member of the Armed Forces, it is a great privilege to open Poppyscotland Ayrshire. The challenges facing those who serve, and those who have served, have resulted in increasing numbers reaching out in their time of need. The team working at The MacRobert Centre will meet that need by delivering joined up support in one location.” Poppyscotland Chief Executive Mark Bibbey added: “We are delighted to have opened our second Welfare Centre in Kilmarnock. Ayrshire is home to many members of Scotland’s Armed Forces community and we look forward to delivering a holistic service to help those who are in need of not only our support, but also that of our sister charities and statutory organisations. “We have already formed strong partnerships with many organisations a

Poppyscotland is to host an open day at its Ayrshire Welfare Centre, with the aim of reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, and to promote the mental health support services which are available to the Armed Forces Community in the area.

The event, which is taking place on Thursday, 17th May 2018 from 11am-3pm, will bring people together in an informal setting to meet with specialist providers, and to help them understand what support is available and how to access it. All serving, or former serving personnel in the Ayrshire area, including Reservists and family members, are more than welcome to come along.

Those attending will learn to understand why access to advice and information and support can be a critical component in supporting the mental wellbeing of those within the Armed Forces community. In addition, the event will host specialist providers, such as Veterans First Point (V1P), Combat Stress, NHS 24 and SAMH (the Scottish Association for Mental Health), in a relaxed informal setting who will endeavour to answer any questions that you may have.

Poppyscotland CEO Mark Bibbey said: “The rigors of conflict and the wider demands on our Armed Forces, together with the challenging transition from the military to civilian life, can have a significant impact on the long term mental health of veterans and their families.

“Mental health problems in our Armed Forces community take many different forms with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and social isolation being the most high profile. Such issues can be incredibly debilitating for the sufferer, and often close family and friends bear the brunt of the condition, too. With the right treatment, those who experience mental health issues can learn to successfully live with and manage them, and that is why Poppyscotland places such value in providing help through events such as our forthcoming open day.”


Notes to editors

  • For further information please contact David A. Findlay, PR Manager at Poppyscotland, on 0131 550 1580 or 079797 35611, or email at findlay@poppyscotland.org.uk.
  • Caption information: You will get a warm welcome from Poppyscotland’s friendly and professional team at the Ayrshire Welfare Centre. Picture credit: M Owens/Poppyscotland
  • The open day coincides with the Mental Health Foundation’s national and widely respected Mental Health Awareness Week (from 14-20 May) “Surviving or Thriving”, with more information available here: mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week.
  • Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to the Armed Forces community. Money raised from the Scottish Poppy Appeal and Poppyscotland’s year-round fundraising enables them to deliver support to members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland by providing tailored funding and assistance. The charity also funds services in advice, employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite. Please note that we are known as “Poppyscotland”, and not “PoppyScotland” or “Poppy Scotland”. For more information, please visit us at: poppyscotland.org.uk.
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