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Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone line and website that anyone in Scotland can call or log onto when they are feeling low or depressed, and is available to the public every day from 6pm – 2am on 0800 83 85 87.
Set up due to serious concerns about the well-being of people in Scotland, particularly young men at risk from suicide, Breathing Space is an integral part of the Scottish Executive’s National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being.

Breathing Space works to achieve the National Programme’s vision of improving the mental health and well-being of everyone living in Scotland, and in particular complements Choose Life’s objectives seeks to offer early intervention & prevention and response to people in immediate crisis by providing a 365 day a year service listening, advice and signposting service.

Launched in 2002, the Breathing Space phone line was piloted in Greater Glasgow and Argyll and Clyde and this was extended to the rest of Scotland during 2004. At each stage of the promotional rollout, Breathing Space hosted local launch events which included endorsement from the area Choose Life Coordinator.

Tony McLaren Breathing Space’s National Coordinator said “Breathing Space is at the front end of providing people at risk of suicide with a point of contact, particularly late at night when problems are running through their mind keeping them awake, when the effects of drugs or alcohol are highest and after hours and at weekends when many walk in services have closed their doors.

“Most importantly we aim to empower people to help themselves by suggesting agencies in local areas that can help with specific problems.

“One mother whose son sadly completed suicide in the Highland commented to me that it was a long time from 5pm on Friday until Monday morning. We hope that Breathing Space goes someway to bridge that gap and gives people an easily accessible service when they need it most.”

A large part of Breathing Space’s strategy for reaching as many young men as it can in Scotland, is getting out and about as much as possible. A team from Breathing Space went along to Scotlands biggest music festival T in the Park for the second year running, finding out how young, and not so young, Scots get their 'Breathing Space'.

T in the Park 2006 has proved to be a fabulous platform to raise public awareness of Breathing Space. And once again the Breathing Space tent at T in the Park proved to be a hit with music fans. As well as handing out drawstring rucksacks and pocketcards to those visiting the tent, the team were keen to find out just what Scots do to maintain good mental health and find out the ways in which they get their 'Breathing Space'.

Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd said: '...I like to surf, I like to get out… as much as I can, but maybe not as much as you know I would like to. I like to just get out and get on the board and paddle out to sea and that where I kinda get my space, yeah – it always makes me feel better when I do.’

River City star Ryan Fletcher who plays Vader commented: ‘Normally, the best thing for me is talking to friends, family – people who I trust more than anything, probably...'

Graeme from Yetts O Muckhart explains: '...spend some time alone, talk to my friends and stuff…pretty much most of the time you are ok with it, but um if you sort of start going under you need to get yourself some space, like take a rest and stop doing as many things’.


Jennifer McColgan
Breathing Space
Communications & Marketing Assistant
Tel: 0141 225 0099
Mobile: 07881 511 410

Tony McLaren
Breathing Space
Project Coordinator
Tel: 0141 225 0099
Mobile: 07796 941 956

Janice Malone
Breathing Space
Support Officer
Tel: 0141 435 3901
Mobile: 07810 507 266





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Contact Us: Tayside NHS Board , NHS Tayside Headquarters, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee, DD1 9SY
Telephone 01382 660111 or email contacts

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