On the 22nd July I hosted an online conversation with Angela Scott, our Chief Executive, and Ron Flett who is our Chaplain. The idea to do this came about shortly after the webcast that Isla Newcombe had joined me on earlier in the year to talk through the Guiding Principles.
I felt this had been quite an important topic and enjoyed the discussion about how these could be applied in our cluster and across the organisation. Shortly after this, our Chaplain Ron was on our floor and came over to introduce himself. I may have looked like I needed it but he’s never confirmed.
As we spoke, it became clear that Ron’s role was important in helping us as individuals react to, and embody the guiding principles. But more than that, that the opportunity of impartial support provided by the Council chimed with my own beliefs about how support can be provided.
We all have pressures and coping mechanisms, stemming from personal and / or professional issues. The concept of work / life balance ebbs and flows – when work is good, enjoyable and achievable, doing that extra bit doesn’t feel like an extra as it’s enjoyable. When it’s the opposite, it feels an infringement. The complex nature of our business at the moment, the limited control we can have in some situations, and personal factors can lead to stress, or exacerbate mental health issues. Ron readily agreed to do a webcast for us to let us know what support is available through his role, to us all.
I was aware that Angela had a lead role in the National Suicide prevention work, and has been advocating through various working groups at National and Local level the importance of suicide awareness and prevention. Bluntly, I am Angela’s target audience. Completed suicides are almost three times as likely to be males of my age, and the rate is increasing. Traditionally we don’t talk about feelings; don’t share emotions, ‘bottling it up’. So it’s been interesting to hear about Angela’s role and be involved in some of the work being planned through Public Health and Community Planning Aberdeen on mental health and suicide awareness. The clear message for me around this is that it’s ok to not be ok; and that as human beings we can underestimate the importance that a kind word or friendly gesture can have for people who may be in a crisis we can’t see – we’re all shadows under the same sun.
It seemed therefore a natural fit to invite Angela to participate in this webcast along with Ron, and publicise what we are doing organisationally around mental health and wellbeing. The webcast video has been updated with a link to the Mental Health and Wellbeing pages on the zone.
I hope you found the webcast helpful, and if you’ve not viewed it yet you can find it below, along with some helpful links.
I’m now off on holidays for a few weeks – I hope you have, or about to, enjoy yours.
All the best,
Mental Health First Aid
Would you like to help to reduce the stigma around mental health to create a move positive culture, play an active role in recognising critical warning signs of mental health and feel confident to guide someone to appropriate support? If you have a genuine interest please click on the link to access more information and the short application form.
Mental Health Action Plan
The new Mental Health Action Plan was approved at committee on 31 January 2019. This marks the start of our journey to raise awareness and tackle the stigma of mental health issues in the workplace. To download the action plan please click here.