Miss Great Britain finalist Louisa Thomson has spoken of her determination to champion mental health and the work of Support in Mind Scotland as she bids to win the beauty crown.

Louisa, 27, from Fife will head to Leicester in September to compete for the 2017 title, and her excitement has doubled after learning that her twin sister Christina had also reached the final - the first time in the history of the event twins have ever done so.

After booking her place in the final by winning the Miss Stirling title, Louisa chose Support in Mind Scotland as her sponsor, and as a mental health nurse she is highly motivated to make the most of the opportunity to raise awareness.

"When you work in mental health you can see how much stigma is still around and how people still have a lot of misconceptions," said Louisa, who works with the Mental Health Crisis Team in Fife. "There is no doubt this is a brilliant opportunity for me to raise awareness around mental health issues.

"As a mental health nurse, I know anyone can suffer from mental
 illness and, sadly, there is still a stigma attached to mental health that doesn’t exist for other illnesses.

"I have worked in forensics, hospitals and secure units and I love my job. It has made me passionate about trying to improve the public's perceptions and awareness. 

"It's important for people to seek and get the help they need and not feel any shame in doing so. If someone is experiencing a mental health problem, we should always encourage them to look for help before it does accelerate and snowball. Support groups are key to their recovery and that's why I chose to represent Support in Mind Scotland.

“Support In Mind Scotland are working so hard to increase
 understanding of mental illness
 and to support not only people
 suffering from mental health issues but their families and carers too.”

Since she was confirmed as a finalist, Louisa and Christina have been in demand from the media, giving an interview to the Sunday Mail and appearing on the BBC's weekly current affairs show Timeline, hosted by Shereen Nanjiani and Glenn Campbell.

Louisa has also reached for the sky to show her support for our charity - sky-diving from a plane - despite having a life-long fear of heights!

With her feet back firmly on the ground and the adrenaline rush started to subside, Louisa said: "Well I did it and I'm in one piece! It was definitely an experience and I am glad I was able to face my fear of heights."

Louisa and Christina - who is a paediatric nurse - were down in Leicester recently to meet some of their fellow finalists as well as World Heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua, and both are excited at the prospect of trying to become Miss Great Britain.

"It was a friend who encouraged me to enter and when I applied I didn't think for a moment I'd get through" said Louisa. "But you only live once and I thought to myself 'what have I got to lose?' This was my last chance, as 27 is the maximum age, so I decided to go for it.

"Now, I can't believe I'm in the final and it's even better that Christina will be alongside me. This isn’t just a competition about how you look – it’s about your personality too. 

"It's a great opportunity now for me to raise mental health awareness and to get behind Support in Mind Scotland. Christina has chosen a charity as her sponsor too, and she will be representing a local charity called The Cookie Jar Foundation.

The girls, who have an older sister, Nicola, plan to take part in a range of
 fundraising and awareness-raising activities for the two charities before the competition final in September.

Listen out for an interview soon with Louisa on Radio Stafford 103.

You can watch Louisa and Christina's appearance on the Timeline on the BBC iPlayer by clicking the link HERE