People are being urged to take kindness forward as lockdown begins to ease.

To mark Mental Health Awareness week this week, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership is urging people to take their experiences during the coronavirus crisis into their future lives.

And they have launched a helpline for people who are struggling to cope or are worried about their mental health.

The CWIC (Collaborative Working for Immediate Care) service for people, aged 18 and over, who may be feeling anxious, depressed or down is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm on 01620 642963.

Primary Care Clinical Lead Alastair Clubb said they launched the helpline because they were aware the current crisis was putting extra pressure on people.

He said: "These are very challenging times and we know there are many people finding it hard at the moment.

“ There are a lot of extra pressures right now for people, including additional caring responsibilities, and worries about money or work.

“ People may also be struggling because they are cut off from family or friends. As a result, we’re aware that people may feel anxious or depressed, and unsure of where to turn for help.

"That’s why we set up the CWIC Mental Health Line. We have established one number for everyone across the county to speak with a specialist mental health practitioner and get support. We are working closely with GP surgeries to make sure people get support from the right person at the right time."

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, East Lothian Integration Joint Board chairperson, said The Mental health Foundation has chosen kindness as its theme for the awareness week.

And she said it was a good choice in the current climate.

She said: “Kindness is a really good choice for this year and we can see that kindness in action in our communities – whether it be our wonderful health and social care staff, council staff delivering the frontline services we rely on, posties, delivery drivers or all our amazing community volunteers.

"I’d like to give a special mention to our mental health and wellbeing partners who are delivering vital support and information – like Changes, 1st Response, Stepping Out and Eastspace.

"And all our staff in the Intensive Home Treatment, Community Psychiatric Nursing and Substance Misuse Teams.

“Kindness is really important and the best way we can all support good mental health in these challenging times. Let’s be kind to ourselves and kind to one another and look ahead to better times.”