Social Issues

Social Issues - Mental Health Information

Money worries can be very stressful, it is important to check what benefits and/or entitlements you may be eligible for. Your local job centre or the website may be useful in finding this information.

If you do find yourself getting into debt it is important to speak to someone about your options as soon as possible. This could be a financial advisor at your bank or the citizens advice bureau may be able to help you.

Make a list of how much you owe to whom. Sort your debts by priority. This is important because some debts can have more serious penalties than others, for example; debts like mortgage/rent arrears or taxes could have more severe implications than late credit card payments.

It is a good idea to keep in touch with companies/individual who you owe money to. If you are honest with them you may be able to negotiate options for repayment. The citizens advice bureau may be able to assist you with this.

If you are a student struggling with debts or experiencing tension over splitting rent/bills it may help if you speak to an advisor at your university/college. Make a list of your expenses, this can help you to set a budget for yourself. You could also get a part time job to help. The current minimum wage for 18 - 21 year olds is £4.77 per hour and for those over 21 years old it is £5.73. While you are a student you will not be entitled to benefits but usually you will be exempt from paying tax on your earnings.

Housing Issues

If you are facing eviction or homelessness you should contact the council who may be able to assist you with finding somewhere to stay. Some groups of more vulnerable people have a higher priority for housing, for example if you are aged 16 or 17, if you have a mental or physical health condition, if you have lost your house through a disaster such as a fire or flood, if you are pregnant.


Some people may become carers for members of their family who are unable to look after themselves. This can be very rewarding, but is also challenging and often very stressful. The local council may be able to offer you additional services or support which may make things easier. There are also support groups run by and for carers which can ease the burden and make it easier to cope with such a demanding role.

Related Issues

Some social issues may be experienced as a result of other problems and vice versa. The following topics may be of interest to you:

Information & Education

Gaining information or learning about something is often a good first step to tackling your problems. Learn More

Useful links

Advocacy Shetland

An independent organisation which offers support to vulnerable people who feel they are not being listened to. They can help you to get your voice heard, to explore and understand your options and can enable you to make decisions about your situation. tel: 01595 743929

Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizens Advice Bureau helps people resolve their problems, including those of a financial or legal nature, by providing confidential and impartial advice and information free of charge. For details of the services available locally contact Les Irving: 01595 694696. You can also find out more by visiting their website

Community Care

Community Care services are designed to help older people and vulnerable people in their own homes. Services available include community support workers, home helps, meals on wheels to name a few, for more details see their website. The first step towards requesting a service is to contact the duty worker at your local Social Care office and ask for an assessment. The duty worker is available on Tel: 01595 744421

Crossroads Shetland

Caring for somebody can be hugely rewarding but can also place high demands on the carer. Crossroads is a charity organisation dedicated to providing short breaks for carers within their own homes. Contact Mary Gifford - Tel: 01595 743931/2 email:

This is a government run website which delivers information and practical advice about public services, including taxes, benefits, legal rights, health and wellbeing to name but a few

Disability Shetland

Disability Shetland aims to support the efforts of disabled people to realise their full potential in all areas of life. The organization works to promote, provide and encourage the development of services and facilities for people with disabilities, including a barrier-free environment. Tel: (01595) 743900

Leaving Home

Many young people leave home in an unplanned way or lack the knowledge and skills to obtain and successfully maintain suitable accommodation. This can and does lead to housing crisis and, in the most extreme cases, homelessness. The Leaving Home website is run by the Scottish Council for Single Homeless, their aim is to develop housing education across Scotland and establish housing education as a permanent and sustainable part of the work of education, housing and youth work professionals

National Debt Line

The helpline that provides free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems. Call 0808 808 4000 between 9am and 9pm Mon - Fri and 9.30am and 1pm Saturdays.

Shelter Scotland

Shelter is a charity that works to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness and bad housing. They do this by giving advice, information and advocacy to people in housing need, and by campaigning for lasting political change to end the housing crisis for good.

Shetland Befriending Scheme

Aimed at people between the ages of 7 and 25, the befriending scheme can help give young people the confidence they need to reach their full potential. The young person will be matched with a befriender and they will then meet up and do activities together. Activities can range from sports, to crafts, to just meeting up for a coffee and a chat. Children under the age of 16 must be referred to the service, and young people aged 16 and over can self refer. For further details see the website or contact: tel: 01595 743907

Shetland Carer’s Group

The aim of outreach groups for carers is to make sure that no carer has to reach crisis point before they get the support they need. In short, their purpose is to make it easier for carers to cope. The Central Carers Group meets monthly at Market House, Lerwick. If you would like to attend the group please contact Jo Jack 01595 743923 or email: The Westside Carers group meet at Wastview Daycare in Walls. For information on this group contact Fiona Sinclair 01595 809352 or email: The Carers Groups are currently looking at starting an outreach group for the North of Shetland. If you would be interested in joining a group for this area please call Jo Jack on 01595 743923.

Shetland Islands Council Housing Department

The aim of the housing service is the provision of good quality affordable housing as an option to the people of Shetland. The council can provide general needs, temporary, supported and sheltered accommodation. For information on housing see or email or phone: 01595 744360

Shetland Youth Information Service

Shetland Youth Information Service aims to motivate, challenge and enhance the lives of young people in Shetland by providing support and information services, which are developed and delivered in partnership with young people. SYIS based at Market Cross and is open Mon - Fri 1pm – 4.45pm and Saturday 12noon – 4.45pm. Young people seeking individual support are invited to telephone between 9 – 5 to make an appointment with a member of staff. You can contact them on 01595 692002 or on

Social Work

Many people in Shetland will have contact with Social Care at some point in their lives. This could, for example, involve a relative with a disability attending a care centre, an older family member in need of help to stay at home, or a child or young person in need of support or protection. Social Care also provide support for individuals who have mental health problems or are enduring addiction, as well as offenders, ex-prisoners and many other vulnerable people in the community. Contact: or phone: 01595 744421. Address: 92 St Olaf Street, Lerwick, ZE1 0ES

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