MENTAL health support remains a priority at NHS Forth Valley with a wide range of resources available for both people and professionals.

The NHS Forth Valley website continues to provide resources for common issues and information packs have also been delivered to carers centres across the Forth Valley.

These contain a wide range of information and advice including strategies for reducing distress and practical tips on how to explain Covid-19 to people with dementia or a learning disability.

They are also supporting people with dementia or a learning disability to engage in meaningful activities at home and contain information on how to help people with dementia or a learning disability to manage hand washing and tolerate being cared for by someone who may be wearing PPE.

In addition, a range of support is available for health, social care and care home staff.

These include drop in centres, relaxation and mindfulness sessions, a listening service as well as psychology and counselling support.

Dr Jennifer Borthwick, NHS Forth Valley's head of psychological services, said that it is not surprising that many people are having greater difficulties in managing their emotional wellbeing during the pandemic.

She added: “Everyone has had to adjust to major changes in their daily routines.

“Initially most people had no or limited access to many of the things which support our mental health and wellbeing, such as exercise classes, meeting up with friends and being able to see extended family.

“In addition, many people were very anxious about the possibility of them or their loved ones becoming unwell.

“The vast majority of people who have experienced psychological symptoms due to Covid-19 have not needed to seek support from specialist mental health services and have been able to manage this within their own social and family networks.

“However for others, who may already have been struggling to cope, have faced greater changes, additional financial or job worries, lost someone close or had a smaller group of support to begin with, this has been much harder and they have required additional help.”

While some routine services had been impacted by Covid-19, staff have maintained contact with patients via video and telephone consultations.

Many of the new services developed during the pandemic have proven so popular staff are planning to continue with them.

Dr Borthwick added: “The current Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all in different ways physically, emotionally, socially and psychologically.

“This is normal and I’d encourage anyone who is experiencing heightened levels of stress or anxiety to have a look at the wide range of self-help materials available on NHS Inform or contact their GP Practice for advice.”

Help is also available on, or call 116 123 to speak to the Samaritans.