Peer support is offered to people in Aberdeenshire living with MS
People living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in Aberdeenshire are being offered an opportunity to find free support online.
The ‘My MS, My Way’ project has already has already helped dozens of people on the east coast to find peer support, counselling and information.
The MS society Scotland programme of support was first created to support people in Tayside but is now being expanded to odffer support to people in Aberdeenshire.
Tracy Scott (43) is a learning design consultant and was diagnosed with relapsing MS in 2015, and is a peer support volunteer for the project.
She said: “My experience of being diagnosed wasn’t the greatest so the idea of My MS, My Way supporting people through that is really good.
"For me, it felt like there was no time or a chance to ask questions. It all seemed very quick with the consultant, you were given your diagnosis and then just ‘on you go’.
“Having that opportunity to speak to someone who’s had a similar experience to tell you that MS isn’t a life sentence and that you can absolutely continue to live well would have been really valuable to me.
"I certainly would have felt more positive immediately after my diagnosis.
“That’s why I wanted to volunteer for peer to peer support – to be involved to help people have a better experience than I did.
“MS affects everyone differently so it’s good to have various options and ways of connecting.
“Having that blend of one-to-one and more general support is great.
"Not everyone will want to speak to someone and, similarly, many people would prefer to have contact with someone rather than just reading about MS.”
More than 15,000 people live with MS in Scotland – one of the highest rates in the world.
It damages nerves in your body, is often painful and exhausting, and makes it harder to do everyday things, like walk, talk, eat and think.
The ‘My MS, My Way’ project is open to anyone affected by MS in the Aberdeenshire Council area and people are invited to access free one-to-one confidential counselling and peer support sessions.
Morna Simpkins, Director of MS Society Scotland, said: “MS affects everyone differently and we’re pleased to be continuing to offer support for people across the area with this project.
“The support of our volunteers, like Tracy, has made a huge difference in being able to make sure that people feel supported and able to access the kind of information that will help them.
“If anyone affected by MS would like to find out more about ways they can improve their emotional wellbeing, self-management skills and resilience to live well with MS we would encourage them to get in touch.”
The project was designed in partnership with a group of 35 local people with MS and activities will be delivered as part of a community partnership between local people living with MS, MS Society Scotland and MS Therapy Centre Tayside.
Local MS Society groups played a key role in securing funding and continue to work in the partnership.
To find out more about the My MS, My Way project, call 01382 938 082 or visit www.mssociety.org.uk/tayside-my-ms-my-way.