Councillor praises positive mental wellbeing interventions as UK celebrates Mental Health Awareness Week

Aberdeen City Council’s mental health spokeswoman, Councillor Claire Imrie today (Friday 14 May) praised the local authority’s innovative mental health interventions as the UK this week celebrates its annual Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Council has developed a series of programmes and joined a series of initiatives in the last 18 months to maintain and enhance the mental health and wellbeing of staff and the wider public.

For Council staff these include a 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year online and telephone counselling service an innovative Mental Health First Aid Network comprising trained staff volunteers; training in mental health awareness; mental health champions; access and signposting to external specialists and online blogs.

Last September, the Council also expressed support for suicide prevention campaign launched by Scotland’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group underpinned by the belief that we each have a role to play in tackling stigma and being prepared to talk frankly about the subject and connecting those at risk.

Councillor Imrie said: “We are delighted to support and celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week and in doing so reflect on our own work in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our staff and the people we serve.

“We have long recognised that we each have a part to play in ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of others and that is why we set up our own employee-led Mental Health First Aid network. Through confidential peer interventions we are helped in identifying potential mental health issues at an early stage and help prevent problems from worsening.

The theme of this year’s celebratory week is Nature and the therapeutic effects of the outdoors particularly during the long months of the Covd-19 pandemic. Mental Health Awareness Week organisers say that their research show that 45% of people of us reported going walks in green spaces to be one of the top coping strategies during stressful times.

Councillor Imrie added: “A connection to nature and open spaces is a fantastic way of raising spirits and maintaining wellbeing and we are blessed in Aberdeen in that we have so many wonderful outdoor settings of green parks, stretches of riversides and of course, miles of golden sands at our beach with which to interact.

“Our commitment to outdoor learning and its benefits for pre-school age children in particular is demonstrated by our investment in two innovative centres at Hazlehead and Duthie Parks as part of our expanded Early Learning and Childcare offering.”