Many readers will by now have received one or both Covid vaccinations, and you may have heard last week that 18 to 29 year olds can now register for theirs at

Meanwhile the lowering to Level 2 here in West Dunbartonshire has brought a welcome chance of careful but much-needed contact with loved ones and friends.

Lockdowns have been a reminder for many of the terrible sense of isolation experienced by elderly people who have lost their spouses, live far from family, or are prevented from socialising by mobility problems.

It is now becoming increasingly clear that during the pandemic, young people across these islands have also been hit very hard by long and recurring periods of isolation.

Upheaval and delay to their expected academic progress or career has added to their anxiety and stress.

Young mums and dads have faced extra money worries, as well as the enormous stress of protecting wee ones from risk.

The combined effects of worry and loneliness have caused an increase in depression amongst young people both here in Scotland and elsewhere.

Older people have often learnt some coping skills for times of uncertainty in life, whereas for younger folk these extreme unknowns have taken an even greater toll.

In some cases, these feelings have been overwhelming and led to terrible tragedy.

The devastating loss of a loved one to suicide is never more painful than when it involves the loss of a young life, and is deeply felt across whole communities.

Many young people are still struggling with depression even now as we move nearer to widespread vaccine coverage and the hope of better times ahead.

So please, keep an eye out for those around you – of any age – who may be in need of a listening ear, a kind word, or support to seek medical help.

If you need support for a young person up to 18 years, you can call Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at the Acorn Centre, Vale of Leven hospital, on 01389 817 324.

If you, or someone you know is suicidal, Breathing Space has advice including: Talk openly about suicide and don’t avoid the issue.

Listen to your friend or relative’s feelings, express your own feelings. Ask for help. Don’t be judgemental. Talk about available alternatives.

Please reach out. NSPCC have support for children and those caring for children: 08080 800 5000

Stepping Stones are a local mental health charity available on 0141 941 2929.

Breathing Space have a free phone number 0800 83 85 87, Samaritans helpline is 116 123.