A HIGHLAND mental health and suicide prevention charity has begun working with an influential Highland businessman and former Olympian to help reach people who may need its services.
Mikeysline has teamed up with Ewan MacDonald – managing partner of insurance firm MacDonald Group/Partners& Scotland, and three-time Olympic curler – to look for new opportunities for growth, awareness-building and fundraising, especially within the business sector.
Ewan said: “Mikeysline is a great charity that supports people in some of the remotest parts of the country, and I’m delighted to join the team as a corporate ambassador. Unlike bigger charities with higher profiles, Mikeysline is a grassroots organisation – and anything that can spread its message further is a good thing.
“So many people have been touched by mental health or suicide, and the work Mikeysline does is extremely important. We face many mental health challenges in the world we live in now, so the fact that Mikeysline works with people across the spectrum, from adults to children in schools, is really important to start the conversation at all levels.
“It’s vital that people are aware of the great work the charity is doing – that it’s ok not to be ok, and that someone is here to listen and help.”
Having started working in MacDonald Group – the family business – in his early teens, Ewan has forged a name for himself as one of the Highlands’ leading insurance specialists. A well-respected businessman, he has guided the firm to be part of Partners& and is now responsible for a wide portfolio of insurance services across Scotland.
Ewan is also well known in the curling world, having represented Scotland and the UK at a number of prestigious international competitions. Competing in the Olympics in 2002, 2006 and 2010, he has also appeared 10 times for Scotland in the World Championships – as well as scoring a host of accolades across Scottish, UK and European competitions.
Throughout both of his careers, a focus on people has been at the core of his success – something which he carries forward into his new role at Mikeysline.
Ewan said: “A lot of my success in business is thanks to lessons I learned in my sporting career. Having a fantastic team around you, and working with the right people, is important for success – and it’s the same when looking after your own mental health.
“In elite level sport, we work with psychologists to help us through the challenges we face. But many sportspeople feel there’s a hole in their life when they leave their sporting careers, and find themselves in a dark place without that same level of support.
“The same goes for anyone facing a change in their lives. There is never any shame in reaching out for help, no matter what is bothering you. By contacting an organisation like Mikeysline you are building that supportive team around yourself, so you have someone to lean on when times are tough.”
As corporate ambassador, Ewan will help raise the profile of Mikeysline’s work, both locally and nationally. Working with contacts in the business and sporting worlds, he will help increase the charity’s network, open up new opportunities, and act as a role model to business leaders in supporting mental health initiatives in the workplace and the community.
Mikeysline CEO Emily Stokes said: “We are thrilled to welcome Ewan MacDonald as Mikeysline’s first corporate ambassador. It’s well known that sport and exercise can have a positive effect on your mental health, and Ewan’s sporting influence will help us communicate that message across the north of Scotland.
“Not only that, but his wealth of business connections will help open up Mikeysline to new opportunities across the region, and allow us to continue to provide lifesaving mental health and suicide prevention services in person and remotely.”
Since 2015, Mikeysline has offered confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages dealing with mental health issues, emotional distress or thoughts of suicide in the Highlands and Moray. It does this via a text line service at 07786 207755; WhatsApp at 01463 729000 and via its website; and live chat, Twitter and Messenger via its website.
The charity also produces a popular podcast, Speaking of Suicide; works closely with teachers and pupils in schools across the north of Scotland; and offers face-to-face support in four Hives across the region – at its Inverness headquarters, Tesco in Tain, The Place in Alness, and the Highland Yoga Collective in Nairn. Here, service users can engage in one-to-one support or join in group sessions.
For more information, visit www.mikeysline.co.uk – or find Mikeysline on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.