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Aberdeen

suicide prevention - Liam Yule, North East Suicide Prevention Lead for SAMH-min

1000s of workers in Aberdeenshire trained in suicide prevention during the pandemic

Leading employers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have completed vital and potentially lifesaving suicide prevention training ahead of Suicide Prevention Day 2021

As part of efforts to support people in the North East of Scotland, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) has completed over 200 suicide prevention training sessions over the pandemic to over 2,300 people. SAMH coordinates the North East Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NESPLG), which brings together suicide prevention expertise from across Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, and Moray, with a shared commitment to save lives.

The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland show that more than one person a week lost their life to suicide in Grampian in 2020.

The training has been delivered to people working in key employers and industries in the north, including Police Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen Council, NHS Grampian, HM Coastguard Grampian & Tayside, oil & gas, education, fishing, and farming.

Liam Yule North East Suicide Prevention Lead for SAMH 2 min
Liam Yule, North East Suicide Prevention Lead for SAMH

The introductory sessions aim to provide a grounding for people to feel more informed and confident about having a conversation with someone about suicide and connecting them with appropriate support.  

Liam Yule, North East Suicide Prevention Lead for SAMH, said: “We work with incredible partners across the North East of Scotland to provide people from different backgrounds and communities with the skills they need to help someone at risk of suicide.

“Thinking about suicide is very common – in fact, it’s estimated that one person in 20 is thinking about suicide at any one time – so training like this is really valuable for us all. It’s been great to get feedback from participants that many of them think it will be helpful not just in their professional lives, but also in their personal lives.

“As we collectively focus on recovery from the pandemic, we need to encourage people to talk about suicide, to feel able to ask for help, and to feel confident to give help when it’s needed; and Suicide Prevention Day is a great time to shine a light on this.”

The NESPLG works closely with Police Scotland to help officers respond in different scenarios and to provide follow up support to groups affected by suicide. This includes using data to identify at-risk demographics and quickly target them with tailored support and training.

Darren Bruce Police Scotland North East Division min
Darren Bruce, Police Scotland North East Division

Darren Bruce, who leads the Harm Reduction team in Police Scotland’s North East Division said: “The police have an important role to play in helping prevent suicide. We’ve built a really meaningful and valuable partnership with SAMH and the North East Suicide Prevention Group that allows us to support some of the most at-risk groups in. This could be within a school, an online community, or a geographical region. Working with SAMH means that together, we ensure the right people are getting the right support.

“We’re in the process of developing a bespoke training programme for officers which will complement the existing suicide prevention training, which has included providing them with the skills to have conversations with members of the public in distress, and to escalate for longer term support if required.”

Fourteen rescue teams from the HM Coastguard, including in Aberdeen and Grampian, have also completed the training having often being called upon to assist people with thoughts of suicide. The training has helped rescue officers to better support those who need it. 

April Doig, Senior Coastal Operations Officer at HM Coastguard Tayside & Grampian said: “The training has helped to open the conversation and dissolve the stigma around mental health.  It also helps our Coastguard rescue officers better help and support those in our communities, their own friends and families and each other. With so many people experiencing mental health problems, especially during such a difficult year, this training is invaluable.

“People are often concerned in these kinds of situations that they may accidentally say the wrong thing, but our SAMH trainer gave us the confidence and tools we need to help, which is really empowering.”

Along with emergency services and frontline workers, the training has been well received with employees of Aberdeenshire Council, helping managers and mental health first aiders upskill.

Mitch Robertson, Health Promotion Officer, Wellbeing Team at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “My role is to drive wellbeing within Aberdeenshire employees, I firmly believe to improve one’s wellbeing whether that’s physically or mentally, there needs to be information shared on topics like suicide and mental health conditions because we need to reduce stigma around these topics and encourage people to speak up, so I try and set up these sort of workshops to get people involved, raise awareness and ultimately help reduce stigma.

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“The training is beneficial because again its raising awareness of a tricky topic, it will help reduce the stigma around suicide and it will compliment other training we do such as mental health for managers, stress management and reduction and mental health first aid.”

SAMH is encouraging those affected by suicide in any way to download the free Prevent Suicide app, which has been created to offer support for those living across the region. To download the app, visit www.preventsuicideapp.com.

There are several events taking place in Aberdeen in the lead up to and on Suicide Prevention Day 2021, including a drop-in Conversation Café in Union Square on Suicide Prevention Day, where team members will be sharing suicide prevention materials and information. Marischal College will also be lit up yellow on the day.

For more information, visit www.samh.org.uk.

If you’re thinking of suicide and need help now, you can contact the Samaritans 24/7 free of charge on 116 123.

FREE online course

FREE online course – Foyer Families

Foyer Families FREE online course runs for 16 weeks.


If you’re a parent or carer who’s looking to build confidence and learn new skills then our online course “Foyer Families” is just for you.

“Foyer Families” – FREE online course starts on Tuesday 24th August within Aberdeenshire and runs for 16 weeks.

It’s a great opportunity to gain important skills and ​accredited qualifications while cultivating a meaningful team experience– at a pace that works well for people with young children and busy lives!

FREE online course – Foyer Families is a 16-week fully funded programme created and delivered by Aberdeen Foyer which will help you to:

  • Achieve accredited learning and employability skills
  • Progress into further education and employment​
  • Support your child’s development​ through learning and play
  • Improve the health and wellbeing of yourself and your family

FREE online Course dates 
This course will run from the 24th of August 2021 to the 10th of December 2021
Every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
9.30am to 2.30pm

Aberdeen Foyer is working in partnership with North East Scotland College to deliver a City & Guilds Extended Level 1 Certificate in Employability skills. REHIS Food Hygiene and Pediatric First Aid certificates will also be available during the course. Child development workshops will also be delivered.

college and council logo

Additional support such as childcare provision and access to digital kit can also be provided during the course.

The course will be delivered online with access to course leaders and personalised support.

Is this course for me?

If you Are a parents/carer with children under 12 looking to do any of the following:​

  • ​Develop personal confidence ​​
  • Meet other parents ​and contribute to shared learning
  • Take part in a meaningful team experience ​​
  • Obtain accredited qualifications
  • Learn how to further support your child’s learning and play in everyday life ​
  • Consider if further education, training, or work is a possibility for you ​​

Then this FREE online course is for you.

As part of Foyer Families you’ll complete 5 City and Guilds units:

  • Building personal confidence
  • Contributing to healthy living
  • Effective skills and qualities for learning and work
  • Coping with change
  • Managing personal finance
  • A range of course related activities to boost productivity, team building and personal confidence
  • You will also gain a broader understanding of how learning and play contributes to child development.
  • Attend wellbeing sessions including: Mindfulness, Stretch and Tone and Tai Chi
  • Be invited to course-related talks from a range of external organisations and partners
FREE online course - Foyer Families
FREE online course

FREE online Course Content

Week 1/2: Getting to know you
A chance to get to know one another and set the foundation for an exciting journey with Foyer Families.

Week 3/4: Building personal confidence
Working together to understand personal confidence, while branching out into related activities to help build your own personal confidence.

Week 4/5: Contributing to own healthy living
Looking closely at what contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Guided cooking sessions and Food Hygiene will be used to support your learning along with a range of relevant activities.

Week 6/7: Effective skills and qualities
Working together to highlight and build upon existing skills to prepare you for the working and learning environment.

Week 8/9: Managing personal finance
Focusing on planning and preparation you will gain the skills to develop budget plans and financial inclusion sessions will help you to manage your finances.

Week 10/11/12: Coping with change
Encourages you to explore the different types of change, including the impact of change and strategies to help you to cope with change.

Week 13/14: Skills development
Helping you to build your CV for potential job opportunities and preparing you for mock interviews and build progression pathways.

Week 15/16: What’s next?
Reviewing 16-week programme with discussion about future steps and finally your graduation!

Katie Summers (Aberdeenshire)​ M: 07979 199 896​
katie.summers@aberdeenfoyer.com

We can even help with childcare and digital kit if needed.
If you think this might be for you, or a family member/friend – then please get in touch by emailing

Aberdeenshire and Moray

Aberdeenshire and Moray will move to level 1 on Saturday.

Aberdeenshire and Moray will move to level 1, Glasgow to move to Level 2 and Scotland remains on the right track.

The First Minister outlined the next steps to Parliament and confirmed that Glasgow will move to Level 2 from 00:01 on Saturday 5 June 2021.

The following mainland local authority areas will also remain at Level 2, while the situation with the virus is monitored closely:

  • East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire
  • East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, and South Ayrshire
  • North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire
  • Edinburgh and Midlothian
  • Stirling and Clackmannanshire
  • Dundee

At the same time, from 00:01 on Saturday 5 June 2021, these 15 mainland local authorities will move to Level 1:

  • Highland and Argyll & Bute
  • Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray
  • Angus and Perth & Kinross
  • Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire
  • Falkirk
  • Fife
  • West Lothian and East Lothian
  • The Scottish Borders
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Aberdeenshire and Moray
Aberdeenshire and Moray

All islands currently in Level 1 will move to Level 0 at the same time due to sustained low numbers of cases. Everyone is encouraged to get tested to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by finding cases that might be missed, as around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 don’t have symptoms.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I appreciate that today’s decisions will feel like a mixed bag. That reflects the fact that we are in a transition phase. No part of the country is going backwards today. Before the vaccines, that would have been impossible on case numbers like this. But the vaccines are changing the game. And that means we can still be optimistic about our chances of much more normality over the summer and beyond.

Aberdeenshire and Moray
Aberdeenshire and Moray

“As always, all of us have a part to play in beating this virus back. So please, stick with it, and each other.

For local authority areas in Level 2, we will be providing support to soft play and other closed sectors that had expected to open, or operate in a different way from 7 June.  Full details will be provided by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance tomorrow.

Aberdeenshire and Moray on Level 1: what you can do

  • you can meet socially in groups:
    • of up to 6 people from 3 households in your home or theirs – and can stay overnight
    • of up to 8 people from 3 households in an indoor public place like a café, pub or restaurant
    • of up to 12 people from 12 households outdoors in your garden or a public place
  • under 12s do not count towards the total number of people or households meeting outside but do count towards the number of households indoors
  • you do not need to physically distance from family and friends in a private home
  • you can travel anywhere in Scotland in Levels 0, 1 or 2 but must not enter a Level 3 or 4 area unless for a permitted reason
  • you can travel anywhere in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands – before you travel you must check the travel rules in those countries
  • you can provide informal childcare, for example to look after a grandchild
  • up to 100 people can attend weddings and funerals
  • tradespeople can carry out any work and repairs in your home such as painting, decorating or repairing
  • you should work from home where possible

Aberdeenshire and Moray, What can open at Level 1

Places and business that can open at Level 1 include:

  • cafés, pubs and restaurants
  • all shops and stores
  • all close contact services including hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons
  • gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools
  • tourist accommodation
  • all visitor attractions
  • all public buildings like libraries and community centres
  • all entertainment (apart from nightclubs and adult entertainment)
  • stadiums and events – with maximum numbers

Aberdeenshire and Moray, What must close at Level 1

Places and business that must close at Level 1 include:

  • nightclubs and adult entertainment
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Prepare your house to best resist new flooding

Prepare your house Once you’ve assessed your home’s overall risk of flooding

Prepare your house to resist flooding

Prepare your house – Take any needed steps to properly flood-proof your home. Flood-proofing can range from expensive home renovations to free, basic maintenance. The steps you should take will depend on your home’s risk and how well the home was built to withstand flooding.

Prepare your house Flood-proofing renovations

If you’re building in a flood-prone area, or if your home was not built to withstand rising water, some flood-proofing work may be required in order to minimize flood damage. Here are some methods of flood control to protect your home from rising water.

  • Raise your home on stilts or piers. While expensive to build retroactively, raising your house on stilts will raise your house’s flood level. Since even an inch of flood water can lead to significant damage, raising your home above the flood level will substantially protect your home.
  • Install foundation vents or a sump pump. Foundation vents, a form of “wet flood-proofing,” allow water to flow through your home, rather than pool around it. This both provides an outlet for flood water and relieves the significant pressure it can put on your walls and basement windows. Sump pumps are frequently used to pump water out of basements where flooding happens regularly. We recommend a sump pump with a battery backup in case the power goes out.
  • Apply coatings and sealants. A form of “dry flood-proofing,” coatings and sealants that you apply to your foundation, walls, windows and doorways help prevent flood water from leaking into your house through cracks.
  • Raise your electrical outlets and switches. All outlets, switches, sockets and circuit breakers should be at least one foot above flood level to avoid significant electrical damage in the case of a flood.
  • Install check valves on your pipes. Make sure that all pipes entering your house have valves to prevent a flooded sewage system from backing up into your home. Gate valves are preferred over flap valves, since they provide a better seal against flood pressure.
  • Grade your lawn away from the house. If your lawn tilts toward your house, rainwater will pool around your home. Use a heavy soil that contains clay and sand to regrade your lawn so that surface runoff empties into an appropriate place, such as a street gutter.
  • Leave space between mulch and siding. Wet mulch can rot your house’s siding, which in turn can lead to leaks. Keep space between your mulch and siding so that the base of your house can completely dry after rainstorms.
  • Point your downspouts away from your home. If your gutter runoff is not pointed away from your house in an appropriate direction, it can pool at the corners of your house and may eventually create leaks in your basement.

In addition to the renovations above, protect your home’s internal and external appliances by raising them above the flood level. Usually, you can do this inexpensively by placing them on concrete blocks. Here are some appliances that should be elevated above flood level:

  • Air conditioning units
  • Generators
  • Water heaters
  • Washing machines
  • Dryers

Prepare your house – Take preventive steps when flooding starts

If a storm is imminent, or flooding has already started, follow these steps to minimize flooding and water damage to your property:

  • Turn off the water line, if that is the source of the flooding.
  • Clear out gutters and drains so that water can flow freely.
  • Use sandbags to block any gaps that will lead to flooding.
  • Move rugs, furniture, electronics and other valuables to a higher floor of the home, or elevate them.
  • Shut off your electricity at the breaker panel, if flood water is close to reaching your electrical system.
  • If it’s not raining, open windows to allow air flow through your home.
  • Turn on your sump pump or use a shop vacuum to remove water as quickly as possible.
  • Photograph or videotape any flooding to document and defend your claim with your flood insurance provider.

Also please use FLOODING EMERGENCY NUMBER

Quarantine hotels

Quarantine hotels and managed Isolation

Quarantine hotels to come in to force for international travellers arriving in Scotland from Monday 15 February

All arrivals to Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area must book and pay for managed isolation in quarantine hotels to help protect against the importation of Coronavirus (COVID-19) from 15 February.

Six hotels close to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports with a combined capacity of 1,300 rooms will be used to implement the quarantine at a cost of £1,750 per individual traveller. Final costs for those not travelling alone are currently being worked through, as well as the details for a Managed Isolation Welfare Fund which will be launched for those who cannot afford the charge.

All arrivals must quarantine for at least ten days and will be tested twice for the virus – once on day two and once on day eight after arrival.

Existing travel exemptions will be strengthened, including limiting overseas training for elite sportspeople to athletes and coaches preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics.

A small number of arrivals will not be required to isolate, such as those involved in essential supply chains for goods coming into Scotland.

The Scottish Government will continue to engage with airports and discussions to secure a four nations approach to contracting the security, transport and accommodation services required are already underway.

As regulations to support the introduction of managed isolation are developed a range of offences and penalties to help ensure compliance will be considered.

It is still the case that all non-essential international travel is not permitted.

In a statement to Parliament the Transport Secretary urged the UK Government to match the comprehensive approach being taken by the Scottish Government.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said

To manage the risk of importing new variants, and to give vaccine deployment the best chance of bringing us closer to normality here in Scotland, we have to place further limits on international travel.

The UK Government has only committed to adopting this for travellers returning from “red list” countries. However, we know that is not sufficient and we will go further.

The clinical advice is clear that a comprehensive system of managed quarantine is essential to minimise the impact of new COVID-19 variants.

Scottish vaccination

Scottish vaccination programme moves to next stage

Scottish vaccination centres to open for mass in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

People aged 70 and over will get Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in a range of settings, from community centres to mass vaccination centres, from Monday 1 February as the vaccination programme moves to the next stage.

Those aged 70-79 and the clinically extremely vulnerable – including over-16s on the shielding list – started receiving their invitations on Monday 25 January and subject to supplies, will have received their first dose by mid-February.  

Mass vaccination centres, including Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and Aberdeen’s P&J LIVE at TECA, will be in operation from Monday 1 February for members of the public with appointments. NHS staff at these centres have been vaccinating each other this week as part of their induction. The EICC will have capacity to vaccinate more than 21,000 people a week at 45 stations. The centre in Aberdeen will start with 20 booths, vaccinating around 6000 people weekly. The Louisa Jordan mass vaccination centre in Glasgow has been operating since 8 December, carrying out 1,000 – 5,000 vaccinations daily. The facility has the capacity to move to 10,000 per day.

The scale of the operations at the mass vaccination centres means letters will also start going out next week in Lothian, Grampian and Greater Glasgow and Clyde to those aged between 65 and 69 – the next group on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority list.

Other smaller vaccination centres, located in community facilities such as village halls and sports centres, are also opening as the roll-out continues across the country.

The programme for first doses for care home residents, frontline health and social care workers and those aged 80 and over will be completed by 5 February.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Our vaccination roll-out continues to ramp up as we widen it to groups further down the JCVI priority list and I would like to thank all those involved in setting up the mass vaccination centres in Edinburgh and Aberdeen and, of course, the NHS Lothian and NHS Grampian staff who will be delivering the vaccines.

“It is testament to all those working hard to roll-out the vaccination programme that major logistical operations such as these are up and running despite the current restrictions.  

“I would urge everyone to take up their appointment when they are offered one. The vaccination programme is one of three key ways we are working to beat this virus, along with our expanded testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission and the important lockdown restrictions everyone in Scotland must follow. All these measures work to greatest effect when they work together.”