Councillors praise programmes to support the mental health of staff

Aberdeen City Councillors yesterday (Tuesday 29 September) praised a series of mental health interventions devised by the local authority to support the wellbeing of staff, particularly through the current Covid-19 pandemic 

The Council’s Staff Governance Committee heard how, since the start of the pandemic, relevant staff groups such as Health and Safety and People and Organisational Development have been working in partnership with Trade Unions to address the potential for increased mental health concerns during the current challenging period. 

A range of support mechanisms have been devised including a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year online and telephone counselling service to offset the suspension of face-to-face meetings; 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; online blogs and videos and participation in wider national health 

The Mental Health First Aid training is delivered by NESCOL and has received support from the Trade Unions representing council staff. 

The council has also recently worked in partnership with the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) in delivering four online interactive sessions on raising mental health awareness among employees and managers. The webinar style sessions commenced on 19 August and ran through to 9 September to complement and promote World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday 10 September 2020 with live attendances ranging from between 150 to 206 people. 

Committee Convener, Councillor Yvonne Allan, said: “Our officers worked tremendously hard in devising our Employee Mental Health Action Plan and the positive impacts of that have been evident for some time. My thanks again go out to all concerned in helping staff feel supported through these exceptionally difficult times”.