NOW that travel restrictions are being lifted across Scotland, we will see the two large car parks in Succoth, Arrochar, jam-packed again.

These car parks are mainly used by hill-walkers. They pay £9 to park for the day, and in exchange get nothing: no security, no protection from the seawater flooding that inundates the car park regularly, and worst of all no toilets.

The woods up the hill path from the car park have become an open cesspit. This is not because the walkers are dirty people, but because they have no choice.

From Victorian times until relatively recently councils provided toilets with hand-washing facilities, because they were aware of health implications, and felt a degree of responsibility to residents.

This is quite obviously no longer the case, it’s just take the money and spend it on pet projects elsewhere, not on the health and well-being of those who have paid. A total disgrace.

Peter Knox

Via email

READ MORE: Letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: April 15, 2021

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AS a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists I was very surprised to read Gerry McKelvie’s letter (Advertiser Comment, April 15) in which he suggests that only clinicians are worthy of being described as mental health professionals.

This is false. There are non-clinical mental health professionals who do incredible work, from peer support workers to health care assistants to mental health strategists and policy makers.

Non-clinical policy makers, for example, are pivotal in driving forward strategies for improving and modernising mental health services. Without these roles clinicians like myself simply wouldn’t be able to cope with demand.

Mr McKelvie also seems oblivious to the huge role played by the third sector. Toni Giugliano works for a leading mental health charity. He is directly responsible for the creation of a new service for families bereaved by suicide which will be launching in two health board services next month.

If it weren’t for Toni’s work in this field, bereaved families would not be getting the proactive trauma-informed support they need.

Toni also successfully worked with the Scottish Government to secure more school-based counsellors and mental health support in our classrooms - now at record levels.

In 2018 he was appointed by Scottish ministers to sit on the newly established Suicide Prevention Leadership Group. In 2019 he won the Scottish Charity Awards Leading Light category for the work he achieved. And later that year he was invited to present his work during Finland’s EU Presidency in Helsinki.

His work should be acknowledged, but Mr McKelvie seems to have rubbished it for party-political purposes, and this must surely be unacceptable.

Dr Gwen Jones-Edwards

Via email

READ MORE: Psychology lifetime achievement award for Professor Tommy MacKay

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I WAS shocked and disgusted at the attitude of G. McKelvie (Advertiser Comment, April 15), who writes that Toni Giugliano was ‘disingenuous’ to call himself a mental health professional, simply because he does not hold a mental health qualification.

I have collaborated with Toni on many valuable mental health initiatives and he is skilled, knowledgeable and works tirelessly to improve the lives and resources available for people who suffer poor mental health.

By reducing the mental health profession to a select group of ‘qualified’ people with a mental health qualification, or by medicalising mental health, G. McKelvie disregards the enormous skill, experience and valuable work of charities, third sector organisations and those people in research roles in this domain.

On an individual level, it suggests that people such as Toni, who have the expertise to build and lead mental health services, undertake research or do vital administrative roles, are not able to call themselves professionals. 

Perhaps before reducing someone’s career to ‘someone who is basically involved in PR’, G. McKelvie should remember that without such individuals and organisations, the pressure on NHS mental health services would increase enormously, potentially impacting upon his own career.

Finally, the Collins English Dictionary (Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins) defines a ‘professional’ as ‘a person who engages in an activity with great competence’,  ‘a person who belongs to or engages in one of the professions’, or ‘a person who engages for his livelihood in some activity also pursued by amateurs’.

Mr Giugliano is all three and has every right to call himself a mental health professional.

Ruth Moss

Via email

READ MORE: Dumbarton candidates have their say on health

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IT’S interesting that the SNP candidate has been parachuted into the area rather than someone local standing.

I understand he has stood in an Edinburgh seat a couple of times before and lost and has now moved westward because he thinks he has a better prospect in Dumbarton.

Call me old fashioned but the usual term for that is a ‘carpetbagger’ – he doesn’t really have local interests at heart.

Tommy Rainey

12 Bonhill Road, Dumbarton

READ MORE: Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie talks to the Advertiser

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THANK you for asking all the candidates for the May 6 election to set out how they would tackle the planet’s climate emergency. This is now such a vital and urgent issue.

I’d like to comment on James Morrison’s contribution. I admire his ambition, but he is completely mistaken about the unsuitability of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) to heat our houses in the Scottish climate.

In February this year there was a week when temperatures dropped to minus 6 degrees Centigrade, and our ASHP coped just fine. Our house was cosy and we had plenty of hot water.

We have no additional source of heat. We live in a timber frame house which was built in 1981. Since replacing our old gas boiler with the ASHP 14 months ago, it has worked very well and has reduced our bills at the same time.

ASHPs have been used more widely in Scandinavia than in the UK, and so please don’t believe the myth that they won’t cope with our winters.

Heather Munro


READ MORE: Local candidates set out how they'd tackle climate change

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I WAS struck by proposals in the Scottish Conservatives’ election manifesto to cut income tax for higher earners.

Behind the rhetoric, this demonstrates how out of touch the Tories really are, planning tax cuts for the rich while delivering further austerity and widening the gap between rich and poor.

Tory proposals would increase the £43,663 annual earnings threshold at which people start paying the higher rate to match the UK Government’s £50,271.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has highlighted that such cuts make a Tory pledge of £2 billion for health spending unachievable.

Each Tory MSP will save £1,321 under their own proposals and tax cuts, giving the wealthiest more money while cutting the NHS budget. This is most definitely not the right priority as we recover from the Covid-pandemic and seek to deliver a fairer society.

Alex Orr

Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

READ MORE: Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross talks to the Advertiser

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I HOPE parents in Helensburgh will encourage their children to take part in Royal Mail’s stamp design competition, to honour the heroes of the pandemic.

The competition is open to children, aged 4 to 14. Eight designs will be chosen to become stamps which will be on sale across the UK.

Children may choose to illustrate frontline workers in health or social care. They may want to celebrate other key workers who have kept the country going, such as refuse collectors, cleaners, teachers, supermarket workers, public transport staff, delivery drivers or, indeed, postmen and postwomen.

Or they might highlight the volunteers who have helped in their local communities or raised money for charity, such as Captain Sir Tom Moore.

The competition is open until Friday, May 28. A special panel of judges will select the winners.

As with all special stamps, the final eight designs will be sent to the Queen before they can be printed and issued as stamps. The winners will be announced in the autumn.

We cannot wait to see who children choose to honour on their stamp. The past year has been very difficult for everyone, so let’s show the heroes of the pandemic just how much we appreciate what they have done for us.

Full details can be found at

David Gold

Director of external affairs and policy, Royal Mail

READ MORE: Opinion - 'More must be done to tackle root causes of heart failure'

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