We have been quiet on our social media and our website blogs recently. Largely this is because we have been busy developing and expanding the services we provide in exciting ways. We are looking forward to sharing the new developments with you very soon. We are sadly saying goodbye to one of our directors, Dr Murray Cochrane, who is leaving to pursue other interests. We are sad to lose Dr Cochrane, who has been very popular within our service, but we wish him well in his next role and express our thanks to him for his invaluable contributions towards setting up and growing the practice.
We are also soon to welcome a number of new team members. Dr Nick Earley, Clinical Psychologist; Dr Helen Simonson, Consultant Psychiatrist; Jenny Gray, Educational Psychologist; and Susan Munro, Specialist Speech & Language Therapist will all be joining us in different capacities in the coming weeks. We will be adding their profiles to our website and speaking to them each in more detail about their upcoming roles with us. We are all excited to welcome our new team members and work together on our new projects and services. We have also recently been working in partnership with Dr Olga Runcie, Consultant Psychiatrist. Many of us worked with Olga before and have enjoyed benefitting from her skills and expertise again. Having spent the last 2.5 years establishing the core business and values of the practice, we are ready for a new phase that we hope will broaden and enhance our service in its aim to provide sustainable innovations for mental health and wellbeing.
In parallel with these developments, as we enter spring here in Scotland, we are also heavy hearted as we contemplate daily reports of unimaginable human suffering in Ukraine, and the first war in Europe in most of our lifetimes. The war will inevitably lead to an increase in refugees arriving in Scotland, in addition to those continuing to seek shelter from conflict and persecution from places like Afghanistan and Syria. Many refugees will arrive having experienced significant trauma, bereavement, will be separated from family and friends, and will have lost their homes, jobs, schools, and communities. The impact on the mental health of these individuals, many of whom are children or young people, will likely be significant.
As a practice we are considering what service we might be able to provide to refugees in the local community, and to those hosting them. Since we opened, we have chosen to support an established and reputable charity that provides direct care for refugees in Scotland. Positive Action in Housing is an anti-racist, homelessness and human rights charity dedicated to supporting refugees to rebuild their lives. For 22 years they have worked to place refugees with host families, to make sure they have sufficient clothing, access to healthcare, schooling, legal advice, and emotional support. Support like this helps limit further distress and trauma and promotes people’s dignity and independence. Feeling welcomed, safe, and supported can be hugely protective to the mental health of both adults and children in crisis.
We try to hold annual fundraising events in support of PAOH. This year one of our directors is cycling the North Coast 500 to raise money to support refugee projects. Helen and her friend Andrew will aim to cover 500 miles in 5 consecutive days – that’s an impressive 100 miles per day! We wish them strong legs and fair weather and will be following and supporting them as they complete their journey.
Find out about Positive Action in Housing and how to support them at the link below.
Positive Action in Housing (paih.org)
We will be posting more regular updates over the spring and summer months in line with our expanding service. We have reached the end of another academic year here in St Andrews and wish our students a restorative and fulfilling summer.
The St Andrews Practice