Edinburgh yoga event to help raise funds for mental health charity

The mum of a teenage boy who died in 2013 has organised a yoga session in Edinburgh to raise funds for mental health.

A mother who lost her son to suicide is urging people to prioritise their mental wellbeing by making a habit of taking a break.

Laura Nolan set up a foundation ten years ago to help offer more access to trained mental health professionals following the suicide of her teenage son Josh in 2013. 

Reliant on donations to fund support through therapy, awareness and education, The Joshua Nolan Foundation delivers more than 1,000 annual sessions of talk therapy and counselling for people of all ages who may identify as being at risk or affected by suicide. 

Public health figures show 75% of people who died by suicide in Scotland in 2021 were male (565 males. 188 females) in Scotland alone. 

Laura, from Edinburgh, has organised a group yoga class at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh to mark International Yoga Day on June 21.

The aim of the wellbeing yoga event is to raise funds for the Foundation. 

Laura said: “Unfortunately waiting lists for counselling are still really long – it was the same for my son Josh.

“That was another reason I set up the charity, so people didn’t have to wait because a lot of people can’t wait and that’s why we are having people dying by suicide – they’re not being cared for the way they need to be.”

Allison Harrison is the yoga teacher for the event.

She said: “Yoga can do so much for people. Even at an entry level, just the experience of coming into a space that’s calm and tranquil where they’re encouraged to just focus on themselves, their body, that can feel so refreshing for people who are used to living in this fast-paced lifestyle that we all live in.

“Everybody has mental health and it’s important that all of us take care of ourselves an coming into a relaxed calm atmosphere where you’re calmly moving the body, you’re calming down you breath, you’re calming down the nervous system.

“It’s just a lovely way to offer your body and mind a moment of respite.”

One Spa Director Scott Watson said: “The stats shockingly don’t lie – 75 percent of suicides in Scotland being male are scary and we need to do something about it.  

“Hopefully running events like this is a starting point – we want to create a community who can talk, use their time wisely and get things off their chest. Coming along and interacting with the public is a starting point.”

Help and support is available now if you need it. The Samaritans can be contacted any time, from any phone, free on 116 123, email at jo@samaritans.org, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch. Details of other services and more information can be found on the NHS website here.

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