Annemarie Ward and Natalie Logan MacLean both bring extensive knowledge to this campaign, and will be using this expertise to shape a campaign that directly challenges and draws attention to the ever-expanding gaps and negative deficits within government, social, and health-related policies and priorities, by highlighting the ‘Unheard Voices’ of the vulnerable men directly impacted by these failings. It is hoped that this campaign will be viewed by persons within the political landscape, particularly MSP Angela Constance; and subsequently, will lead to further discussions in regards to the improvement of funding, awareness, and services overall.
SISCO CEO, Natalie Logan MacLean expresses deep concern for the impact of COVID-19 on third sector organisations, and stated that:
“We know the last year has been tough for us all, but let’s not minimise how much damage the impact of COVID has caused in our most disadvantaged communities blighted by addiction and mental health. We have watched the community fall to its knees during lockdown, and with reduced services, drug deaths have increased and mental health is at an all time low.
SISCO will highlight the voices of the silent and help them be heard.”
“Since the pandemic began, there has been an unprecedented escalation in the challenges facing the recovery and treatment community stemming from the addiction public health emergency and lack of treatment options and access in our communities. Since lockdown we have seen a 53% decrease in people approaching Scotland’s already failing treatment system & double the amount of addiction related attendances at Accident & Emergency departments across the country.
These crises existed before COVID-19, but have been exacerbated by a toxic drug supply and a never ending increase in drug related deaths.
To address these issues, we called on the Scottish government and the drug death task force to immediately expand the availability of the full range of substance use, mental health treatment, and recovery options across Scottish communities, including appropriate facilities for those with complex needs. We need treatment on demand so people get it when they need it. When it comes to treatment access and treatment choice we not only need better and faster, we need to be able to give people services that help them get off alcohol and other drugs, and return them to health again.
If we continue to throw even more money at the same organisations and failed interventions as we always have, we will only get more of the same failure.
SISCO and FAVOR Scotland are continuing efforts to provide advocacy, compassion and support to vulnerable and marginalised men and women experiencing addiction and adverse mental health, and have seen a successful adaptation to the shifted landscape of support services directly linked to the current pandemic and various restrictions, and regulations.
Digital and virtual services saw a dramatic increase in use, in order to abide by COVID-19 restrictions, yet human ‘contact’ prevails as an integral component of their various recovery initiatives. Socially distanced mentor walks have provided a lifeline for the men and women who regularly use these services, and through the campaign ‘Unheard Voices,’ it is hoped that adaptations continue, evolve, and excel, with the predominant focus being on encouraging and supporting the growth of FAVOR Scotland, SISCO, and the improvement of key government policies and priorities.
Samuel W.K Marriott-Dowding
07979 638 437
FAVOR | Charity Number SC043961