Are you lonesome tonight … do you miss me tonight … are you sorry we drifted apart. Elvis Presley sang a great song about it … loneliness is not just a myth … it’s real … and for some people from Glasgow to Graceland it is very real indeed …

 By Lucy Ashton

Jackie Baillie has thrown her support behind Mental Health Awareness Week which this year has the theme loneliness.

Today marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health.

The week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 22nd year and runs from 9-15 May.

This year, the theme for the week is loneliness. Across the country, people will be reflecting on loneliness and how it impacts our mental health. Long-term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

As Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for health and social care, Dumbarton constituency Jackie Baillie MSP, pictured right,  is urging people to look out for others and for themselves if they are feeling lonely.

She said: “I am delighted to support Mental Health Awareness Week. It is such an important theme this year with loneliness being at the top of the agenda.

“Throughout the last two years, restrictions have been in place preventing many people from living their normal life. It is important for people to feel safe from Covid which, despite all restrictions now being lifted, is still around.

“I hope those who have spent a lot of their time recently alone can now enjoy meeting friends, old or new and not suffering loneliness in silence.

“It is also important to look out for family members and neighbours who may be lonely. Dropping in to say hello could make all the difference to them.”

Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said: “We hope this year’s theme of loneliness will strike a chord with many of us who felt lonely and struggled throughout the Covid pandemic.

“Millions of us experience loneliness from time to time. We know that some people are at higher risk of experiencing loneliness and the evidence shows the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems.

“Loneliness deserves more attention and we’re calling on everyone who has struggled as a result of being lonely to share their experiences. We must work together – as individuals, as a society and through government policy – to reduce loneliness and prevent mental health problems by investing in welcoming, social spaces and new community initiatives.”

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