The family of a north-east mum who tragically lost her life have unveiled plans to open a mental health centre.
Shirley Findlay, 37, from Peterhead, took her own life in August after struggling with depression for many years.
Now her family – including husband Ivan McCombie, siblings Derek, Ewan and Margo, and parents Ben and Phyllis – have thrown themselves into campaigning to increase mental health awareness and have unveiled plans to create Peterhead’s first walk-in mental health centre.
To help fund the project, they will hold a charity auction in her memory on December 28 at Peterhead Football Club.
Shirley’s brother Ewan said: “We have had so many local companies step forward to get involved. We constantly have things coming in for the auction so it’s far from completed.
“The main thing we’re looking for now are well-known local figures to host the event.
“The response has been very positive. We’ve had people from around the world getting involved and donating money.”
He continued: “It’s amazing how generous some people have been – it’s a situation that has touched a lot of people.
“Our hope is to eventually get an office space that we can transform into a walk-in mental health centre.
“Currently we have raised about £6,000 for the foundation we’re setting up – after the auction we’re hoping to at least double that.”
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Ewan said the loss of Shirley, who was mum to Olivia, 13, and Matthew, 11, has spurred him on to help raise awareness of the need for mental health support outside of cities.
He added: “I was ignorant my whole life as to how serious mental health problems can be.
“But the number of people I have met that are affected by this is unbelievable – from family to friends of friends.
“It can be such a taboo subject and it just isn’t spoken about enough. I have had my eyes opened completely.”
He continued: “Poor mental health is something people often think will just go away on its own.
“Aberdeen has Cornhill, but that’s too far away from Peterhead. It takes about two hours (by bus) before people who need immediate help can get there.”
“As I understand it, people struggling with mental health often go through waves where they can feel really low and then the next day feel much better and decide just to leave it.
“There are no local places for people to go to when they’re struggling and we really need to change that.
“There seems to be a culture here that if people have had counselling, others feel uncomfortable around them.
“We want to break this stigma and make people feel they have support on their doorstep.”