MyCouncilWorks

Wellbeing Wednesday – 23rd March 2022

Jane Fowler

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello and happy Wednesday everyone. We are now past the spring equinox and this, as well as the lovely weather, is definitely contributing to my wellbeing in a good way J

This week we are covering quite a few topics – most pertinent, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer issues his spring statement, is about debt awareness. The cost of living is increasing, which is affecting everyone – and feeling unable to manage existing debt, or anxious about getting into debt can be stressful to deal with. There is help and advice out there – talk about it and get the very best advice that you can.

Celebrating neurodiversity this week reminds us that not all brains think or feel in the same way – we all have different attention spans and experience different moods, and that is completely normal.  Some of us are given a label that describes a condition, others not. So let’s  accept one another for who and what we are.

And we highlight, as we did back in November, the most common form of cancer in men – prostate cancer. Don’t keep quiet if you are worried – get yourself checked out!

And finally, my reading list has moved to White Beech (yes I love trees…) – a book about rewilding and very different from its author’s other writings – I wasn’t expecting to read Germaine Greer on trees! Lots of detail about biodiversity in Australia and I am enjoying dipping into it.

See you next week.

Debt Awareness Week 22-28 March

As energy costs soar and the cost of living continues to rise, worrying about how to pay the bills and the threat of debt is probably an issue facing many of us. Debt Awareness Week 2022 is all about helping people to open up about their financial difficulties and to get the help they need. Anyone can fall into debt – for all kinds of reasons and as we have seen recently, can be completely outside our control and it can feel like there is nothing you can do to change the situation.

Money worries and poor mental health are often linked. If you’re struggling to cope, you’re not alone; around half of those experiencing money worries also state they suffer from depression, stress, anxiety, or another mental health condition.

Being able to talk more openly about debt-related issues can help to relieve stress and anxiety that might build up around this and Step Change Debt Charity have partnered with the Mental Health Foundation to set up a wellbeing programme called 7 days & 7 ways to deal with debt.

If you are struggling to manage and need support with managing your finances or debt you can find free advice on steps you can take at the Step Change website and national charity Money Helper (previously Money Advice Scotland).

When a reduction in income occurs it can be easy to carry on with old spending habits and build up debts or fall behind with financial commitments. Likewise when situations happen or when you come to a time of year when your spending levels increase, keeping a handle on what can and can’t be afforded can be difficult. Being fully aware of exactly what your income is and what you have available to spend will make it easier to manage.

The Council also has information on the website Money Advice and Worried about Money which includes a tool to help identify where you might need support and providing details on support for those on low incomes, debt advice, help with benefits and other financial advice.

You can contact Argyll and Bute Advice Services for free and confidential advice on money problems and welfare benefits, call 01546 604176 to make an appointment.

 

Our employee assistance programme Health Assured also have a wide range of financial wellbeing assistance including financial assessments, legal and financial support and webinars on money worries, dealing with debt and debt support. If you haven’t accessed Health Assured online services before and need to sign in, please email wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk for the user name and password or check on the Hub.

Budgeting for change | Health Assured (healthassuredeap.co.uk)

Financial wellbeing in 2022 | Health Assured (healthassuredeap.co.uk)

Health Assured also support on a wide variety of issues via the confidential free phone number:  0800 028 0199, which is available 24/7.

If you are looking to make positive changes to help your finances, you may want to consider products offered by Scotwest credit union. As a ‘not for profit’ organisation they claim to provide ethical, competitive and fair financial services, including affordable loans.  You can access further information on the website or via The Hub.

Also don’t forget Money Saving Expert, which is particularly helpful for current information on energy prices and other utility expenses, but also has a huge amount of information on other finance related issues including credit cards, savings, benefits etc. and you can sign up for weekly emails from the MSE team.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week 21 – 25 March

This week is a worldwide initiative that aims to transform how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported by recognising the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual.

What is neurodiversity?

It is estimated that one in seven of the UK population is neurodiverse. You may be familiar with some types of neurodiversity, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and ADHD, but neurodiversity is about much more than this. It is a recognition that not all brains think or feel in the same way – we all have different attention spans and experience different moods, and that is completely normal. 

Around 7% of the UK population are defined as having some form of neurodiversity, but all too often, the world is only set up for the ‘neurotypical’ brain. This means that neurodiverse individuals can be overlooked, including in terms of their education and their career opportunities. The good news is that things are slowly beginning to change and there is greater acknowledgement of the value of different perspectives and ways of thinking, particularly in the workplace. 

In recent years, big names including Hewlett Packard, Vodafone and Microsoft have all run autism-focused employment programmes but there is still some way to go, and in the UK only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time employment.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week helps to raise awareness of neurodiversity and to celebrate that we are all different, and that is normal! 

There is a full programme of free events including webinars, panel discussions and more available at www.neurodiversityweek.com

Prostate cancer awareness month – March 2022

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men in the UK with over 52,000 diagnosed each year.

 

  • The incidence rates for prostate cancer in the UK are highest in men aged 75 to 79 
  • It is predicted that almost 8 in 10 (77%) of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK survive their disease for ten years or more.
  • A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age and ethnicity.
  • 1 in 6 men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. 
  • Prostate cancer is not clearly linked to any preventable risk factors.
  • Most men will die with the disease rather than from it. 

Prostate cancer doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. When you do have symptoms, they may include:

  • passing urine more often during the day or night
  • difficulty passing urine – this includes a weaker flow, not emptying your bladder completely and straining when starting to empty your bladder
  • urgency to pass urine
  • blood in your urine or semen

As men get older their prostate gland enlarges. This is a common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). As the prostate gland enlarges, it can press on the urethra and bladder. This can affect how you pass urine and cause the symptoms described above.

BPH does not develop into cancer but you can have an enlarged prostate at the same time as having areas in the prostate gland that contain cancer cells. 

It’s important to see your GP if you have symptoms of BPH. The changes don’t mean that you have cancer, but it is important to get them checked.  Your GP can do some tests to help them decide whether you need a referral to a specialist. These include:

  • a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test
  • an examination of your prostate gland to check for abnormal signs, such as lumpy or hard areas (digital rectal examination)

Depending on the results of these tests your GP might refer you to a specialist. 

Prostate cancer is not always life-threatening, but when it is, the earlier you catch it the more likely it is to be cured.

For more details about Prostate cancer and symptoms as well as general men’s health please visit  

www.prostatecanceruk.org 

Macmillan 

Cancer Research UK 

Men’s health – NHS (www.nhs.uk) 

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