Scottish mental health charity hit by 'sophisticated' cybersecurity attack

The Scottish Association for Mental Health working with police after experiencing severe disruption to services.

Mental health charity SAMH hit by ‘sophisticated and criminal’ cybersecurity attack iStock

A Scottish mental health charity is experiencing severe disruption to its services after being hit by a “sophisticated and criminal cybersecurity attack”.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) says it is working with various agencies including Police Scotland in a bid to resolve the situation.

Billy Watson, chief executive at SAMH, said the charity is “devastated” by the attack. 

“It is difficult to understand why anyone would deliberately try to disrupt the work of an organisation that is relied on by people at their most vulnerable,” he said.

“Our priority is to continue to do everything we can to deliver our vital services. My thanks to our staff team who, under difficult circumstances, are finding ways to keep our support services running to ensure those they support experience as little disruption as possible. 

“We are working closely with various agencies including Police Scotland – this is an active investigation. We will continue to take the best expert advice to assist us in effectively dealing with this situation.”

Glasgow-based SAMH works with adults and young people to provide mental health social care support in more than 60 communities.

The charity’s communications are currently disrupted, with staff facing difficulties in receiving and responding to emails. Some national phone lines are also affected.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received report of a cyber incident at a charity in the Glasgow area, which occurred on Thursday, 17 March, 2022.

“Enquires are at an early stage and we are providing support to those affected.”

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