Wellbeing Wednesday 11th May 2022

Jane FowlerHello everyone and welcome to this week’s WBW where we are talking about good mental health, families and keeping safe in the sun – and on a good day these things all come together for really positive wellbeing!

I do think of May as the month when the colour all comes out in the flowers and trees, especially the amazing rhododendrons and azaleas we have around Argyll and Bute – it gives the spirits a lift! We can meet with friends and family and sit outside in the lovely sunshine before the midgies get too bad with our sunhats on! My folks have a fantastic array of various sun protection headgear that anyone who visits them on a hot day can borrow to wear – from vintage straw bonnets, to middle eastern head scarves to 1970s Bus Stop hats from weddings gone by to dayglow bucket hats as brought by their grandchildren. Something for everyone – and all good fun, with some hilarious photo opportunities – and keeps the sunburn at bay as well! Thanks to John Cowden our Senior Health and Safety Officer for his contribution on sun protection in this week’s edition.

Quick update on reading – I won’t be rushing to buy any more Paul Bowles novels (The Sheltering Sky – dated and a bit odd for my tastes) but I am getting into Alice Morrison’s Travel with Nomads.  See you next week!

 Jane Fowler Head of Customer Support Services

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event when there is an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. This year it will take place 9 – 15 May 2022 and the theme will be Loneliness.   The Mental Health Foundation started the event 21 years ago. Each year the Foundation continues to set the theme, organise and host the week. The event has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.

Mental Health Awareness Week provides an opportunity to think about loneliness and how it may be affecting you or others around you and encourages you to reach out to others and make meaningful connections with your friends, family, colleagues and communities.

Loneliness and our mental health

Loneliness affects many of us at one time or another. We know that loneliness can be both the driver for and a product of poor mental health.

Our society is changing fast and the pandemic has given rise to a sense of loneliness and isolation undermining confidence in daily routines. In recent times, many of us have had far less access to loved ones.  Modern technology is enabling healthcare professionals to see more patients without the need to travel, but on the flip side of the coin, convenience and cost efficiencies are driving more and more activities online which in turn can lead to people feeling more isolated.

Our workplaces are also changing with many people adapting to home and hybrid working.  It’s important we embrace this change while building and maintaining meaningful connections with our colleagues and we can do this by giving people the tools they need to live their best possible life connecting.

Let’s Connect!

Let’s connect during Mental Health Awareness Week and together we can:

Raise awareness of the links between poor mental health and loneliness

  • Provide safe and welcoming spaces to talk and support each other
  • Upskill people to use technology and keep in touch with loved ones
  • Create an army of volunteers to support lonely people

There are plenty of ways for you to get involved with Mental Health Week and more information and resources can be found by clicking on the links below:-

Mental Health Awareness Week | Mental Health Foundation

Mental Health Awareness Week – Mental Health UK (mentalhealth-uk.org)


LEON, Argyll and Bute Council’s on line learning platform has a number of health and wellbeing courses, including mental health awareness, which you might also find useful.  You can find more information about LEON here 

The Employee Counselling Service provided by Health Assured offer a 24/7 telephone service and a range of supportive options including online programmes and telephone counselling sessions.  You can contact them on their free helpline 0800 028 0199 or if you are a line manager you can make referral on behalf of an employee for 6 structured counselling sessions.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Wellbeing Team if you would like further information Wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk


International Families Day 15th May

Founded by the United Nations (UN) in 1994, the International Day of Families is observed every May 15 to honour the importance of families. Families—both traditional and non-traditional—are the foundation of society. Our most formative years are spent with our families and those people are likely the most important people in our lives, so they should be celebrated. Let’s spend time on this special day to find ways to protect the family unit in society by starting at home with our own!

 “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox

As parents, we want to give our children the best start in life we can. The foundation created in a family has been shown in numerous studies to dramatically impact a child’s success. The more stable the family environment for a child, the more likely they will be healthier – both mentally and physically.

This year on International Families Day, learn about some of the social, economic, and demographic factors impacting families around the world and see how you can start by strengthening your own.

Celebrate all the eccentric traditions that you and your family share!  Every family is unique, and there are countless stories, memories, and adventures we all have shared with our families that are significant only to us.

It is also very easy to take our family for granted, so take this day as an opportunity to share with your family how you feel about them and how grateful you are to your parents, siblings, and extended family for providing you with the necessities of life and a whole lot of TLC.

Pick a restaurant or favourite place your family loves or, better yet, one that you all went to while you were growing up, and make time to be with your family and catch up with each other’s lives.  

Have you thought about how your family developed and who your ancestors were? Why not think about researching your family tree and start talking to the older generations within your family about their memories of your parents and grandparents to help bring it to life. 

There are many online tools to capture your family tree data and companies such as ancestry.co.uk who can help find long-lost relatives.

So why celebrate International Family Day? It reminds us that not all families look alike. Every family is different— and can be defined in many different ways. Some families consist of children; some do not. Some consist of one parent; others more than one. International Family Day is about more than just celebrating those who share DNA with you—it’s about celebrating all of the people you love.

Sun Awareness Week 2-8 May

We tend to laugh at the idea of the sun and its effects on us in Argyll and Bute, however here is a gentle reminder as to the dangers.

Approximately 12,000 people are diagnosed every year with non-melanoma skin cancer in Scotland, of which around 3,000 are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). In addition around 1,200 malignant melanoma are registered per annum. The incidence of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer is rising.

Checking for signs of skin cancer is as easy as A, B, C (and D). Be aware of how your skin normally looks – that way, you’ll notice changes that could be signs of skin cancer.

GET TO KNOW YOUR SKIN – Found a new mole? – Spotted any changes to the size, shape or colour of an existing mole or patch of skin? – Noticed a new growth or sore that doesn’t heal? – Found a spot, mole or sore that hurts or is itchy? – Seen a mole or growth that bleeds, crusts or scabs?

Remember to check your neck and back too if they’ve been exposed – in men, this is where melanoma is most likely to occur. Use a mirror or get someone else to help you check. Get any skin problem checked by your GP. There may be nothing to worry about, but if something is wrong, treating it early could stop it getting worse – and even save your life.

Look at Cancer Research UK’s guide to spotting the signs of skin cancer early at Cancer Research


The strength of the sun’s rays isn’t connected to the temperature – check the UV index. You’ll find the index on many weather forecast apps and websites, such as The Met Office

A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged. The damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight.

To help prevent sun damage, make sure you:

  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when outdoors
  • Make sure you don’t burn
  • Cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
  • Take extra care with children’s exposure when outside in the sun
  • Use at least factor 30 sunscreen (against UVB) and at least a 4-star UVA protection.

 You should take extra care in the sun if you:

  • Have pale, white or light brown skin
  • Have freckles or red or fair hair
  • Tend to burn rather than tan
  • Have a lot of moles
  • Have skin problems relating to a medical condition
  • Are only exposed to intense sun occasionally (for example, while on holiday)
  • Are in a hot country where the sun is particularly intense
  • Have a family history of skin cancer
  • Are on any prescribed medication that makes you more susceptible to sun and heat (check the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine).

Find out more about skin cancer at Cancer Research

Thanks for reading and, as ever, keep in touch with us at wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk