South Scotland SNP MSP and Mental Health Convener Emma Harper has raised a motion in Parliament to praise the work of Support in Mind Scotland's Stewartry Service.

The motion congratulates the work of SiMS' Stewartry Resource Centre in Castle Douglas during the Covid-19 pandemic, and all the team has done to promote mental health awareness and positive health and wellbeing.

This includes their 'Saunter and Snap' initiative, which encourages people to go for short walks outdoors, which, particularly during the current lockdown restrictions, has many positive physical and mental health benefits.

Two examples of the snaps that have been submitted and shared as part of the project can be seen (above) from Allison Clues and below from Ben Lumsden.

Whilst the Stewartry team are not currently holding face-to-face group sessions, they have been using new innovative ways to involve and reach out to the community and they have also been running a virtual lunch club.

Ms Harper, main picture, said: "I commend the fantastic work of Support in Mind Scotland Stewartry. The team have continued to play a vital role for many vulnerable people during the restrictions which are in place because of the pandemic and I have raised a motion in the Scottish Parliament to congratulate the team on their great work.

"The services the team offer really make a huge difference to individuals’ lives and I’d like to wish them all the best with their latest initiative Saunter and Snap which encourages people in the Stewartry to go for a walk in the town or countryside to take photos of their choice and share them with the team who post them on social media.

"I’d like to encourage everyone to take a look at the Support in Mind Scotland Stewartry Facebook page to see some of the fantastic pictures that have been published there”.

Leanne Latta, Project Worker at the Stewartry, said: "This campaign along with the 'Reaching Out' and the 'Kindness' campaigns from the past year has made us realise the importance of community spirit and integration, which is highly important for the users of our service, and we plan to continue this unified effort to improve not just our local service, but the services nationwide, to raise awareness of the quality work SiMS do."

Jim Hume, Support in Mind Scotland's Director of Policy and Public Affairs, said: "This year has been a real challenge for many, with mental health and wellbeing being negatively affected by the Coronavirus epidemic.

"Support in Mind Scotland has been supporting people for around 50 years and have continued to do so throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Without the dedicated staff of Support in Mind Scotland, many people would face this crisis alone.

"We are pleased that Emma Harper MSP has recognised the vital work of Support in Mind Scotland in the Stewartry and across Dumfries & Galloway.”