JEAN’S Bothy - a new community mental health and well-being centre - has officially opened in Helensburgh to provide support for people living with mental health issues.

The centre, based in ‘Jean's Cottage', opposite the Victoria Integrated Care Centre on East King Street, will allow its members to take ownership over a community space, where they can participate in the development of tailored group and individual services.

It is hoped these services will help to improve outcomes for members to ensure that no one has to face mental illness alone.

Jean’s Bothy is the result of a partnership between Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), Enable Scotland, The Ministry of Defence and The Third Sector Interface (TSI).

It was successful earlier this year in receiving a significant grant from the Big Lottery Fund, which has enabled the partnership to employ a full-time member of staff to develop the project over the next two years.

The aim of the centre is to supplement existing community support that is already being provided at local level, connect groups with each other and with other sources of support that exist locally in order to meet the needs of the Helensburgh and Lomond communities.

The project also offers a meeting place for members, including vulnerable individuals who are at risk of becoming isolated from their community. Jean’s Bothy gives them a place to meet others through friendship, events, activities and volunteering.

Alison McGrory, Argyll and Bute HSCP health improvement principal, said: “The HSCP recognise that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors.

“Social isolation is damaging to health, both mentally and physically. Being cut off from social interaction is a problem for elderly and young people. The centre’s health promotion and intervention strategies will help to reduce social isolation and loneliness.”

Donald MacKinnon, adult social care manager, added: “Jean’s Bothy will provide vital mental health services to some of the most vulnerable people in the local and surrounding communities. It will provide easier access to advice, information, support and services.

“I am also pleased that volunteering opportunities will be available through Argyll and Bute Third Sector Interface (TSI) and The Bothy. Volunteering has many benefits to overall health and wellbeing. It can help to lift low mood, help people to make new friends and has favourable effects on life satisfaction.”