Aberdeenshire Council ‘big push on Mental Health

In 2017 the wellbeing team at Aberdeenshire Council have been pushing Mental Health from different angles to raise as much awareness as possible and to get people talking. With over 16,000 employees and 600+ sites, it’s difficult to hold one-off events as many employees struggle to get to that location. So there has been a focus on central promotion but also other methods of engagement.

One tool which has helped to continuously chip away and drip feed information and opportunities is the organization’s social media platform ‘Yammer’. This has allowed the wellbeing team to regularly post topics from associated awareness days, newsletters, training opportunities, and other relevant activities.

As part of our Healthy Working Lives Gold award, maintenance of the Mentally Healthy Workplace training for managers is essential, and in 2017 the 4 scheduled sessions went ahead as planned for the 1st time in a few years. In 2018 the plan is to roll out 6 courses and also be flexible for in-house sessions to all services within the council.

Additionally, all of the Stress Management and Reduction Workshops have gone ahead this year, with an additional 2 sessions being developed for a specific team. It was a proactive approach in looking at stress as a whole so they could be better informed and equipped with coping strategies for their employment and personal lives.

1 to 1 health checks also play a huge role in engaging with staff, they are held in a neutral venue where they are free to discuss mental health confidentially in an environment which is non-judgemental and where advice on support structures at work or on a personal level can be offered. This year over 27 full day sessions encompassing 200+ employees will have been delivered.

A different health topic is highlighted through the pre-planned monthly wellbeing newsletters, and where possible links have been made to mental health, and continuously pushing the above opportunities the wellbeing team deliver. Topics in 2017 which have been either directly or indirectly linked to mental health are; Depression, Mental Health, Healthy Eating (for positive Mental Health), and Alcohol & Mental Health.

Finally, in the next year, there shall be a focus on supporting our Mental Health First Aiders. It can be some time if ever before they get an incident to attend to, so it’s important to keep them refreshed with regular communications and also face to face sessions where we can keep up their skills they developed in gaining the qualification in the first instance.