A Highland mental health charity has announced a leading figure from the Scottish Premiership as its new ambassador.
Steven Ferguson, chief executive of Ross County FC, has pledged his support to Mikeysline, which offers non-judgemental support and advice to those suffering with mental health issues in the Highlands through face-to-face sessions alongside text, Messenger and Twitter services.
The appointment comes at a time of growth for the charity, as it expands into Easter Ross with new services launching soon in Skiach and Tain.
Mr Ferguson said: “The footballing community is becoming more and more aware of how important it is to look after our mental health as well as our physical fitness. So I am thrilled to be joining Mikeysline as an ambassador, to help destigmatise mental health issues and to ensure that everyone who needs support has access to it.
“The Highlands is my adopted home, and I feel very privileged to be able to work with a charity that does so much good for those living in the area. I am looking forward to working with Mikeysline to raise awareness of the support available to those struggling with their mental health – both within the Ross County community and across the region.”
Steven Ferguson began his footballing career as a player with stints at Dunfermline Athletic, Ross County, Brechin City, Stenhousemuir and Ayr United. He was appointed assistant manager of Ross County in 2014 and held positions within the club as caretaker manager, academy director and co-manager until June 2020, when he was appointed chief executive.
He was named Scottish Championship Manager of the Season for the 2018-19 season, following Ross County’s promotion into the Scottish Premiership.
Mr Ferguson joins Hollywood star Karen Gillan and Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s John Robertson as ambassadors supporting the charity’s services across the region. Two former ambassadors – strongman Luke Stoltman and St Johnstone FC’s Scott Boyd – have recently stood down to focus on other areas of work, while continuing to actively support Mikeysline.
Emily Stokes, service manager at Mikeysline, added: “We are so excited to welcome Steven to Mikeysline as an ambassador. As an influential figure in the sporting world, his insight and profile will help us bring our services to the attention of so many people who might never have found them otherwise.
“This appointment comes at an exciting time for Mikeysline, as we are expanding our face-to-face offering into Easter Ross. We have secured premesis at the recently-opened Am Bothan Community Café near Skiach, and are currently gathering feedback from the local community to start providing them with the support they need in the near future.
“We will also be launching a new pilot young person’s service in Tain later this month, based in the local Tesco, to build upon the work of our Inverness scheme which started in February.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to our two former ambassadors, Luke Stoltman and Scott Boyd. They helped us to promote Mikeysline to a wider audience, and support us in our mission to break down the stigma around speaking openly about mental health and suicide at such a crucial time and in such a difficult year.
“We will be keeping in close contact with Luke and Scott, and will watch with interest how their careers continue to progress – and we know that they too will continue to have an interest in how Mikeysline continues to develop in the future.”
Since 2015, Mikeysline has offered confidential, non-judgemental support to people of all ages with mental health issues or in emotional distress in the Highlands via a text line service at 07786 207755, as well as via live chat, Twitter and Messenger. The charity also offers face-to-face support from its Inverness headquarters, The Hive, as well as an additional support service for young people.