A local MSP is advising her constituents to seek help for anyone struggling this festive period.

Elena Whitham, the MSP for Carrick, Cumnock, and Doon Valley has issued a plea to her constituents who are struggling with the ‘winter blues’ and other mental health challenges to reach out for help.

NHS Scotland says that the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is an often misunderstood condition that causes a drop in people’s moods during the winter season.

Ms Whitham has stressed that mental health is just as important as physical health and can be affected by a wide range of factors, such as financial struggles.

The SNP MSP has reminded people that help is available from a wide range of organisations.

Ms Whitham said: “Winter can be a time of great mood swings for many. The run-up to Christmas, and the stress and excitement it can bring, is often followed by a period of mental deflation.

"To add to this, the lack of sunlight and increased financial burden mean that winter can be a real struggle.

“It is all too easy to neglect our mental health and think we just need to give ourselves a shake and ‘get over’ our challenges. However mental health struggles are extremely common and are just as important to address as our physical health.

“If you are feeling down, stressed, or if anything else is worrying you, remember you are not alone and help is available for you. Reaching out is a sign of strength.

“There are excellent organisations and charities who have trained professionals ready to take your call. Breathing Space, Samaritans, Childline, and PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide are just some examples of specialised services that are there when you need them.

“Citizens Advice Scotland and Christians Against Poverty are two of the many independent organisations that can offer you financial advice and support to get out of debt.

“This new year, consider making your resolution to talk more about your mental health to someone you trust and take care of it by following professional advice.”