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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.


“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

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

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

Reasons not to feed seagulls

8 Best Reasons not to feed seagulls

Feeding seagulls can result in over-population, 8 Reasons not to feed seagulls.

Feeding seagulls can result in over-population and the birds becoming a nuisance as they quickly learn where there are ready sources of food.

Gulls in urban areas will start nesting on roofs and this will damage the buildings.

More birds mean more mess and the bird poo can attract vermin and spread disease.

1. HEALTH. Reasons not to feed seagulls

Gulls are “the new public health risk” (the BBC, 2004). The rise in the urban gull population is
increasing the risks of e-coli, salmonella and botulism. And “..gulls could soon be more of a pest in urban
Britain than rats” – a warning given at the 2003 National Conference on problems caused by urban gulls.

2. NUMBERS. Reasons not to feed seagulls

Gulls can live for 40 years, can breed for 25 years and they and their offspring will return to the same nesting site.

3. NOISE. Reasons not to feed seagulls

Noise is by far the greatest nuisance factor. Gulls’ raucous calls typically begin at 4 o’clock in the morning and are impossible to sleep through. When regularly fed, they also become tamed and will start to repeatedly call for food during the day too.

4. MESS. Reasons not to feed seagulls

Mess it was recognised that gulls can expel significant quantities of runny faeces on the wing, which makes it difficult for residents to enjoy their gardens. Their washing, windows, cars and property are also continually being
fouled. Fouling on roofs can also increase the rate of moss growth, which can be unsightly and block
drainage outlets.

5. DAMAGE. Reasons not to feed seagulls

Damage to property is the third biggest problem. Gulls will destroy insulation, air conditioning, will pull up exposed roofing felt and will even pull away lead flashing. Other damage includes blockages to rain water gutters, down pipes and even gas flues.

6. PROPERTY PRICE. Reasons not to feed seagulls

Gulls nesting near or on your property could affect the value and/or the saleability of
your home and the cost to gull-proof your property can be significant.

7. ATTACKS. Reasons not to feed seagulls

The Guardian reported in 2013 that “pensioners have been hospitalised, knocked to the
ground, breaking bones. Small dogs have bled to death, children’s lips been sliced open, and an
elderly man died of a heart attack following a particularly vicious assault in his back garden.” There
have been many other reported attacks on adults, children, pets and livestock. Urban gulls also attack and
will feed on garden birds; so when gulls move in, the small garden birds are driven out.

8. HARM TO GULLS THEMSELVES. Reasons not to feed seagulls

Both the RSPB and RSPCA warn that feeding gulls will not only lead to
attacks but feeding the birds an un-natural, high calorific, low nutritional diet is detrimental to their health as it
can lead to long-term health problems and incurable syndromes such as “Angel Wing”.

Reasons not to feed seagulls

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Apply for Council

Apply for Council Housing, prepares new system

Apply for council housing in Aberdeenshire are being advised of a temporary pause to online applications as a new system prepares for launch.

Currently, applications for accommodation are made via the website.

The website handles applications for properties managed by Aberdeenshire Council, Hanover Scotland, Langstane Housing Association, and Osprey Housing.

From April, a new online portal will allow users to Apply for council housing for rental properties directly from each housing provider.

In preparation for the change, applications via Apply4Homes will close on Thursday, March 18. Existing applicants will not be required to reapply for properties and are being contacted directly to invite them to register for the new system.

Following the launch of the new portal in April, Aberdeenshire Council will be changing to a ‘choice-based lettings’ approach in May, designed to give greater choice to applicants.

Apply for Council

The approach will allow applicants to note an interest on properties they feel best meets their needs in the areas they wish to live. Adverts for properties will provide greater detail, including location, rent, facilities, photos and floorplans where available.

There will be no limit on the number of bids an applicant can make and properties will be allocated to those assessed as being in most need. As applicants will be choosing the property they wish to secure rather than a property being allocated to them, it is expected that fewer offers will be refused.

Support will be provided for those who require assistance in applying online, and further information for existing and new applicants will be provided in due course.

For more information on applying for properties in Aberdeenshire, please visit the Housing Options page on the Aberdeenshire Council website.


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.


Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Tips The winter is upon us, and the snowy, as well as rainy conditions, can create difficult travelling.

Below are some suggested actions you can require to lower the threats to you on the road.

Winter Driving Tips.

  • Keep speed as low as practically possible
  • Increase your distance between cars
  • Slow right down for corners, junctions and any other hazards
  • If travelling long distances, be aware of changing conditions
  • along your route
  • Get all of your braking done on the straights, never brake during a corner if it can be avoided
  • Be prepared for understeer and oversteer, and know how to correct when necessary
  • Be prepared to use ABS or avoidance braking techniques
  • Top up washer fluids and antifreeze
  • Select ‘snow’ mode if available on automatic transmissions, or if an advanced electronic stability control system is fitted
  • If you have to climb a slippery hill, ensure the top is clear before starting the ascent

Winter Driving Tips

Step 1: Make sure that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving tips.

  • Winter tires are a good option, as they will provide greater traction under snowy or icy conditions.
  • Keep a snow brush/scraper in your car, along with possible emergency items such as a lightweight shovel, battery jumper cables, and a flashlight.
  • Make sure that mirrors, all windows, and the top of your vehicle, are free of snow or frost before getting onto the road.

Step 2: Drive smoothly and slowly

  • Don’t make any abrupt turns or stops when driving. Doing so will often cause your vehicle to lose control and skid.
  • Driving too quickly is the main cause of winter collisions. Be sure to drive slowly and carefully on snow and ice covered roads.

Step 3: Don’t tailgate.

  • Tailgating becomes much worse in winter weather. Stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads than on dry pavement, so be sure to leave enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Step 4: Brake before making turns.

  • Brake slowly to reduce speed before entering turns. Once you have rounded the corner you can accelerate again.

Step 5: Learn how to control skids.

  • When skidding, you actually need to go against your natural instincts and turn into the skid and accelerate. Doing so transfers your vehicle’s weight from the front to the rear and often helps vehicles to regain control.

Step 6: Lights On.

  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

Step 7: No Cruise Control.

  • Never use cruise control if conditions are snowy, icy, or wet, because if your car hydroplanes, your car will try to accelerate and you may lose control of your vehicle.

Step 8: Don’t “pump” the brakes.

  • If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), do not “pump” the brakes. Apply constant pressure and let the system do its work.

Step 9: Pay attention.

  • Manoeuvres are more difficult to make in the snow. Be sure to anticipate what your next move is going to be to give yourself lots of room for turns and stopping.

Winter Driving Tips

Guide To Winter Driving
Winter Driving Tips : Guide To Winter Driving Credit To Your Ford Co.

Pack an emergency set in your automobile with the adhering to things:

flashlight, coverings, additional clothing, water, treats, towel, hand wear covers, ice scrape, shovel, broom, sand, as well as bring an extra key on your person in situation you secure on your own out of your car.


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