New Falkirk mental health CEO outlines charity's priorities and issues support message
The new chief executive of Falkirk and District Association for Mental Health (FDAMH) has vowed to do his utmost to ensure those in need receive its support.
The organisation marks its 40th birthday on June 16, 2021, and Ian Dickson wants residents of the region struggling with “reduced mental well-being” to know the organisation will continue to be there for them.
Ian takes over from general manager Angela Price, who has retired after 11 years of service.
Having joined FDAMH as operations manager last January, he’s now tasked with overseeing its smooth running as the country emerges from the latest coronavirus lockdown.
Last week, the charity sent a message of support to the public ahead of the accelerated easing of travelling restrictions in Scotland.
Ian knows the need for mental health support has never been greater.
He said: “FDAMH’s been going for 40 years so there’s a big responsibility to make sure we’re set up to deliver another 40 years of service to the community.
“We have a fantastic team of 27 staff and 50 volunteers and every year we support over 2000 people.
“Our main purpose is supporting people with reduced mental well-being: things like low mood, anxiety, stress – things many of us can experience from time to time.
“We work very closely with the NHS, and because they provide a lot of clinical support, we fill a gap in supporting individuals in the community who aren’t being supported by a GP or who don’t need professional services at this stage.
“We support people from childhood up to their 90s, depending on their needs.
“When lockdown first kicked in we were able to move all our services to phone and video conferencing within the first week. The big challenge moving forward is the community needs will change – and have changed.
“This blended operating model where we support people on the phone, by video and a small number of face-to-face meetings, that’s going to continue for some time into the future.
“We went from 100 per cent face-to-face meetings to 4 per cent. People are a bit more used to dealing with things remotely. We’ll continue to support people in the best manner for them.”
A key part of FDAMH is its immediate help service, which operates as a mental health A and E and is contactable whenever is necessary.
Ian continued: “We also have a counselling service and a family support service.
“We have social prescribing which deals with practical aspects like signposting for help with financial issues or difficulties with school.”
Another vital FDAMH department is The Social Spark team, which hosts befriending activities to help those at risk of feeling isolated.
The team works with people “who have challenges forming their own social groups” and runs everything from fishing clubs to creative writing sessions.
FDAMH has set itself a £40,000 fundraising target to coincide with its anniversary year.
Ian added: “We’re so grateful to everybody who has contributed to the organisation over the last 40 years.
“Be reassured, we’re doing everything we can to make sure the organisation is here to support the community over the next 40 years.”