Readers' letters: Youth is priority on Mental Health Day

This Sunday we mark World Mental Health Day (10 October). It is a day that provides an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health problems and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 7:00 am
PIC LISA FERGUSON 05/10/2021 Hibs and Hearts Legends To Compete in Charity Match on World Mental Health Day John Hughes and Gary Locke share their views on football and mental health 79% of Scottish football fans say their favourite past-time is watching their team play â—e 49% of Scottish football fans say the feeling of belonging is important for positive mental health â—e 34% of Scottish football fans say football gets them out and about Edinburgh families are invited to come down to Ainslie Park on World Mental Health Day - Sunday 10th October - to watch legends from Edinburgh’s rival clubs battle it out, to raise vital funds to support local people in taking care of their mental health. The match has been arranged by the team at Leith’s Utilita Energy Hub, Hibernian Community Foundation, and the Big Hearts Community Trust. It is the first time that both charitable arms of the Edinburgh football clubs, Hibernian FC and Heart of Midlothian FC - will come together on the same pitch. The game is being powered by Utilita Energy - the energy company chosen by over 10,000 Scottish households, today. Every year, the 10th October is a reminder that one in three people will experience mental health issues at some point in their life. Using the power of football, this friendly Edinburgh derby aims to help reduce the stigma and shine a spotlight on support available. Debra Clason, Manager of the energy efficiency team at Utilita’s Energy Hub in Leith commented on why the hub decided to organise the match: “We have a really great relationship with locals across the Edinburgh community, and we often hear wonderful things about both of the club charities and the work they do locally – our in-hub community space has been used to host their events, for example. We started brainstorming ways that we could help to fundraise, and we identified that the two charities had played a game of football against one

In the UK alone, one in four people experience problems with mental health and the social and economic costs of mental ill health amount to billions of pounds every year.

Mental health problems are even more worrying when they concern the mental fitness of our younger generations and how we are preparing them to face the growing challenges of entering adulthood. One in ten youngsters had a mental health problem before Covid-19 struck and this number is expected to rise dramatically due to the pandemic.

Mental health services will inevitably face an overwhelming and unprecedented pressure which could potentially lead to a lost generation of vulnerable children and young people who are missing out on the support they vitally need.

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This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is mental health in an unequal world. Against the perfect storm of a mental health crisis combining with a global pandemic, we must not lose sight of the challenges that the most vulnerable members of society face and place our efforts in indeed ensuring that adequate mental health support for all our children is provided.

Kenny Graham, Lynn Bell, Stephen McGhee, Niall Kelly, The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, Edinburgh.

Vegan Bake Off

We’re in the midst of a vegan revolution so the decision by The Great British Bake Off producers not to allow contestants to “veganise” recipes in the technical challenge takes the cake.

Eggs used as a binding ingredient in baking can easily be replaced and eggs added for moisture can be replaced by tofu, apple sauce, pumpkin or mashed bananas.

Giving vegan bakers the chance to showcase their creations would only enhance and enliven the competition, and it would go a long way towards inspiring viewers to try replacing animal “products” with plant-based alternatives.

Animal-derived ingredients contribute to many of the nation’s health problems and cause environmental destruction and animal suffering.

But, there’s good news PETA offers a free vegan starter kit filled with tips and recipes for anyone looking to give it a go.

Jennifer White, PETA Foundation, London N1.

The truth hurts

Nicola Sturgeon tells us in an interview ‘I’ve got time on my side’.

So the cartoon showing her as an elderly woman with grey hair and a walking stick shouting in 2044 ‘I demand another referendum’ perhaps was not far from the mark.

Ms Sturgeon rails against Brexit, regardless of the fact that if Scotland had voted to leave the UK in 2014, it would also have left the EU.

Prof Mark Blyth, a member of her council of economic advisers, recently said that leaving the UK would be ‘Brexit times ten’.

Prof Blyth has asked the SNP to have a workable plan for secession and to be honest about its serious ramifications. Fat chance.

A poll of young people a couple of months ago showed 62 per cent of them in favour of a separate Scotland. When they were asked whether they would still favour it if it meant costing their family an extra £1000, that figure halved exactly, to 31 per cent.

This is Ms Sturgeon’s bind: she has the young on her side for just as long as she doesn’t tell the truth about the ramifications of separatism.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.