Highlands & Islands

New helpline service set up after deaths of two Inverness friends

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Media captionMikeysline will offer support via text messages and will be staffed by volunteers

A new support service for young people dealing with suicidal thoughts or depression will be launched on Friday following the deaths of two friends.

Michael "Mikey" Williamson and Martin Shaw, who were both 23 and living in Inverness, were found dead within days of each other in October.

Family and friends fear the young men took their own lives.

Mikeysline will offer support via text messages and will be staffed by volunteers.

Jamie-Lyn McBride, a friend of the two men, said: "There is not enough support in the north of Scotland for young people contemplating suicide, or just don't know how to cope with how they are feeling."

Image copyright Williamson/Shaw families
Image caption Friends Michael Williamson and Martin Shaw died within days of each other
Image caption Martin and Michael. middle, on a night out with friends

Michael Williamson's uncle, Ron Williamson, said one of the aims of the new service would be to make people know that they were not alone in struggling with their emotions, or troubles in their lives.

He said: "The people who think they are alone don't know that the person standing next to them in the supermarket queue, or the girl in the corner desk, or the guy in the pub cracking the jokes are also suffering.

"By getting this out there, people their own age can talk to them."

Mr Williamson was found dead only hours after returning from a night out to remember his friend Mr Shaw. The pair had a wide circle of friends.

Earlier this week, their families and friends gathered with others who had lost friends and relatives in Inverness city centre to remember them and to hold a pre-launch event of the new text service.

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