SUPPORTING families as a loved one dies, overcoming trauma, battling rheumatoid arthritis while bringing up a baby – these are the Humans of Scotland featuring in a “powerful” initiative aimed at shedding light on the care sector.

The project, by the Health and Social care Alliance Scotland (the Alliance), gathers together testimony from the people at the heart of the national network of large and small support organisations, and those who credit that help with aiding their everyday lives.

Organisers hope the move will bust myths about illness and disability, and open up conversations about the role of carers.

Today the Sunday National publishes just a small a selection of their stories.

Professor Ian Welsh, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “The stories are arresting and thought provoking and raise important issues such as misconceptions and challenges faced by those with ‘invisible’ disabilities.

“Sharing these stories makes the project impactful.

‘‘We’re reaching out and sharing voices that aren’t always heard and experiences that deserve air time.

These are shared widely, raising awareness and understanding.

“We want the initiative to spark ideas, inspire and drive improvements in health and social care.”

The National:

“I SUPPORT dying people to have the best death possible – but also to live life to the full before that. Sometimes simply holding somebody’s hand and being in the moment with them is enough.

That’s a big part of the whole Doula thing – nobody should have to die alone unless they choose to, whether they are at home, in a hospice or care home or prison or in a hospital. Doula work grows into so many other things – simply listening, making a lunch or doing dishes or going for walks. It could mean being with the dying person at the very end. But it’s also the bit before that, the weeks and months, perhaps from the time of a terminal diagnosis or the withdrawal of treatment. My primary focus is really the practical, hands on care, the small but necessary daily tasks, and helping to make death and dying the ordinary, natural part of life that it actually is.”

The National:

“I WORK in a small GP surgery in the east end of Glasgow, we’ve got just over 2000 patients. I’ve been with this practice for 20 years.

You get to know whole families. You see all the generations and support them throughout their life. People find it easier to approach a nurse than a doctor sometimes.

I’m kind of approaching an age where I could probably consider retiring, but I can’t find a reason to stop doing what I’m doing yet. There are new challenges to come.

People make my job, absolutely.

Sometimes it’s just talking to somebody. Sometimes it’s just the listening. My job would be nothing without people.”

The National:

“I FOUND a notebook that contained writing about the challenges, feelings and emotions I had within the first few months of having my baby. I wrote: ‘My body is letting me down. At eight months it has become physically impossible to hold her in my arms for more than two minutes at a time. I worry about not being able to be a proper mum as I’m not able to physically keep up as eight months of constant caring/being up/physical activity/being non-stop/the cycle of insomnia and knackeredness is really telling on my body and the combined psychological effect of eight months of no/broken sleep is draining me in every way. I remember that I had stopped writing because I was crying, with defeat in my heart. I picked up my defeated heart, dusted myself down and from very deep within, found my usual defiance, looked ahead and kept on going.’’

The National:

“INSTANTLY if someone says they have Alcohol Related Brain Damage, they’re revealing the cause of their illness and there’s a lack of compassion for those who have the illness of addiction.

People think it’s not worthy of compassion, it’s not worthy of support, it’s your fault, you’ve brought it on yourself.

I support people in their homes, in their communities to live as independently as possible.

I never judge somebody, maybe that comes with experience.

“The people we work with, we know they’ve been through very traumatic events in childhood. To reach the age of 40, 50 to have been through all they’ve been through, to now be abstinent and maintaining their tenancies, having a circle of friends, engaging in support, not having any debt – that’s an achievement.

We’re products of our environment – 100% of the people I support are products of their childhood. They’ve all been exposed to the toxic trio – mental health, addiction and violence.

No, they’re not to blame. It could be us.”