Karen vows to help men­tal health group in High­lands

Pre­miere of new movie fo­cus­ing on seamy side of life in High­land cap­i­tal

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SU­SAN WELSH AND CHRIS MACLEN­NAN

Hollywood ac­tress Karen Gil­lan has made a pub­lic pledge to do what she can to sup­port a High­land men­tal health char­ity af­ter launch­ing her lat­est film in In­ver­ness on Thurs­day evening.

Mikeysline in In­ver­ness was founded in 2015 in re­sponse to a num­ber of sui­cides in the High­land area, and of­fers a text line ser­vice as well as an out-of-hours men­tal health cri­sis cen­tre, named Hive, in In­ver­ness city cen­tre.

At a Q&A ses­sion for her new film, the for­mer Doc­tor Who star, who hails from In­ver­ness, said she was “con­cerned and wor­ried” about the high sui­cide rate in the High­lands, pledg­ing to get in touch with the or­gan­i­sa­tion in the com­ing weeks to of­fer sup­port and ways in which she could be of help.

Stephen Reid, op­er­a­tions man­ager of Mikeysline said: “We ab­so­lutely wel­come it.

“When we heard the film was be­ing made, we were keen to reach out to Karen and open the con­ver­sa­tion and we now look for­ward to hear­ing from her.

“For her be­ing such a high-pro­file per­son and touch­ing on the topic is great. She is prob­a­bly In­ver­ness’ most fa­mous ex­port and serves as an in­spi­ra­tion to many.

“We are re­ally look­ing for­ward to hav­ing her in.”

The ac­tress was speak­ing fol­low­ing the screen­ing of her pro­duc­tion The Party’s Just Be­gin­ning at Eden Court which has been writ­ten, di­rected and starred in by Miss Gil­lan.

The film has been her brain­child for the best part of six years and ex­plores a darker side to her High­land home-city, rather than the more usual pic­turesque, tourist-friendly view.

The film deals with the dif­fi­cult topic of sui­cide, but also cov­ers heavy drink­ing, oc­ca­sional drug taking and con­tains a hefty serv­ing of sex scenes and strong lan­guage, which at times make for a sharp con­trast to the beau­ti­fully filmed scenes of In­ver­ness and the sur­round­ing area.

Within the film, Miss Gil­lan’s char­ac­ter pos­sesses a home land­line with a num­ber sim­i­lar to that of a helpline num­ber of­ten called in er­ror.

Miss Gil­lan said: “When I was grow­ing up in Kin­mylies, our phone num­ber was one digit re­moved from the Sa­mar­i­tans num­ber so we of­ten got calls by mis­take.

“My mum would of­ten end up chat­ting to the women who called, and I think or­gan­ised to go to the bingo with one of them.”

The star looked re­laxed at the Thurs­day screen­ing but con­fessed: “This is the most ner­vous I’ve ever been in my life.”

“Grow­ing up our phone num­ber was one digit... from the Sa­mar­i­tans”

CON­VER­SA­TION: Karen Gil­lan’s film broaches sui­cide along­side other is­sues

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