NHS Western Isles in partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have today launched their new Psychological Wellbeing Hub service to help people of all ages across the Outer Hebrides manage their anxiety while coping with the coronavirus outbreak.

Staff from across both organisations, alongside their key community partners will offer support, advice and signposting alongside telephone support, to help people deal with problems with their mental wellbeing during the pandemic.  The Psychological Wellbeing Hub will complement the support being offered through Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's Resilience Helpline which provides people with information on how to access practical support, and the NHS Western Isles COVID-19 Advice Helpline which provides information for general health queries or concerns regarding the COVID-19 situation.

The new initiative is being led by Psychology and Public Health at NHS Western Isles and Education and Social Work Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, with the aim of helping people struggling to manage at home and to reduce the workload of frontline NHS and social care workers.

Dr. Maggie Watts, NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, said “We recognise that we are living in very different times with the challenges presented by this new coronavirus.  We all need to think about how we can really look after our mental and psychological health. This is just as important as looking after and protecting our physical health. It is all part of the same goal – to keep ourselves and our families healthy at this difficult time. Different types of dedicated support will be needed at times like this so, with that in mind, we have set up the Western Isles Psychological Wellbeing Hub.”

The Western Isles Psychological Wellbeing Hub will be supported by more than 30 people all trained in providing Psychological First Aid.  Psychologists, social workers, education, mental health and wellbeing workers, and trained counsellors will be at the end of a phone to help people using the service. If you are not currently getting support for your mental or psychological health and you or your child are experiencing increased emotional distress, or that it’s all just getting too much, you can contact the Western Isles Psychological Well Response Hub.

Alison Robertson, Clinical Psychologist for NHS Western Isles, said “Anxiety is to be expected right now.  This service is for people who notice that they are experiencing continuous anxiety or distress due to their situation just now, or feel that they are needing some extra support. People might feel particularly anxious if they know someone who has the virus or is ill, and those who have had mental health or psychological difficulties before might feel those symptoms heightened or worse during this difficult time. So if you, or a member of your family, is understandably struggling right now due to the changes COVID-19 has brought to your life, please contact the hub for support and advice. We can offer help to you through this difficult time so you feel more able to cope”

David Gibson, Head of Children’s Services for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, added “It is likely that some of us may experience emotional distress, during this period of social distancing and ‘lockdown’.  Feelings and emotions can become overwhelming and relationships strained. Children can have worries amplified by being away from the supportive routines of school and interaction with friends, or they may be worried about someone in their family.  They may have lost direction. Our emotions can fluctuate more than in ‘normal’ times, but it’s important to know that it’s okay. Our role is to help you or a member of your family find ways to cope. This service will complement the existing 24-hour counselling service for young people offered by Counselling and Family Mediation. The Wellbeing Hub will help by offering advice and techniques that can help and additional support by a telephone appointment”

The Western Isles Psychological Wellbeing Service will operate in the normal working hours of 9am-5.30pm Monday to Friday.   Referral to the hub can be made by downloading the referral form at https://bit.ly/3eYa3RQ and then emailing it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For those without internet access, a referral or self-referral can be made by phoning the Community Navigator Team on 01851 708022 or the NHS Western Isles COVID-19 telephone line on 01851 601151.

NHS Western Isles also has its new dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) support website for those living and working within the Outer Hebrides atwww.coronavirus.wi.nhs.scot,which has a dedicated information section offering a range of support, tools and tips to help individuals and families stay at home.

Further useful self-help resources for COVID-19 and mental healthcare is available on the NHS Inform website at www.nhsinform.scot  You can also call the NHS24 Helpline on 111 or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.