Hello and happy Wednesday! This week’s wellbeing update covers the very serious issues of mental health and domestic violence. Talking about mental health has become much more acceptable in society over the past few years, with people in the public eye talking out and making it ‘ok’ to speak up. This, along with the issues everyone has faced with the Covid pandemic, have made a significant difference to general attitudes in society about mental health. We have drawn attention to this before in Wellbeing Wednesday, but as it is a wellbeing issue that affects so many, we want to make sure that you are aware of all the resources that are there to support you to look after yourselves, to look out for your colleagues and to support loved ones who are facing mental health challenges, so today we are highlighting World Mental Health Day on 10th October.
Domestic Violence, on the other hand, whilst awareness is more widely raised in general about it, still remains a subject that is very difficult to talk about for those that it affects. This is a real challenge for all of us, as it is an issue that affects a very large number of people, mostly women, in our communities. As your employer, we are here to support you if you have any concerns about yourself or a colleague and think that you or they may be experiencing domestic abuse or violence. Please do seek support and help – you may save a life.
World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilise efforts in support of mental health.
This year’s campaign by The World Health Organisation is Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality. Highlighting inequality in accessing mental health support and services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s mental health. Some groups, including health and other frontline workers, students, people living alone, and those with pre-existing mental health conditions, have been particularly affected. And services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders have been significantly disrupted. You can read more about the campaign on their website.
Mental health charity Mind are launching #DoOneThing to highlight and address mental health inequality with ‘one thing’ that we could all do to make a change:
Add your voice – Speak with friends, family or colleagues. Do one thing today and start a conversation about mental health inequality.
Learn about mental health inequality – People from racialised communities, young people, and people living in poverty are disproportionately affected by mental health issues.
Access information and support – If you’re living with a mental health problem or supporting someone who is, access to the right information is vital.
Further information on the campaign, how you can get involved and access support can be found on the Mind website.
Over the past few months we’ve had communication from you with information about mental health resources that you are aware of or have helped you which it would be good to share.
Wellness Toolbox – A resource that you have to call on when you need a little extra help. This could be a physical box of items or a list of things to do or refer to that bring you happiness. It works best when the items are meaningful to you.
Brain Dump Notebook – At the end of the day, a place to note down what went well and what might not have gone so well and what you can do about it. It’s a great way to help stop worries or problems careering round in your head after work is finished for the day!
Talking & Sharing – Teacher Hug is an online talk radio station covering a wide range of topics for the education community. The station has featured shows presented by Argyll & Bute teacher Lena Carter entitled ‘The I Factor in Your Wellbeing’
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is designed to unify women and men all across the world who have been victims of domestic violence. It is important to recognise that domestic violence impacts millions of people, and it’s not only women who are victims; many men suffer domestic violence as well and domestic abuse will have a significant impact on the lives of children who witness this behaviour in their homes.
Domestic abuse or violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. However, statistics show most domestic abuse is carried out by men and experienced by women.
There are many different forms of domestic abuse or violence, which is why raising awareness is so critical.
Signs You Are in an Abusive Relationship
Many people do not realise that they are in an abusive relationship as behaviours may change over time. Below are some of the signs you could be in an abusive relationship:
- Your partner threatens you or your family.
- Your partner puts you down. They attack your capabilities, mental health, looks, or intelligence. They blame you for their violent outbursts.
- Your partner is jealous. They may isolate you from your family or friends or they may accuse you of not being faithful.
- Your partner is possessive or controlling. They may check up on you all of the time, they may check your phone messages or keep hold of your bank cards.
- Your partner has hit or punched you, or pushed you against a hard surface.
- Your partner sexually or physically abuses you.
A lot of people suffer from emotional abuse, and it is no less destructive than physical abuse. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often overlooked or minimised, even by those experiencing this but this form of abuse can be very damaging and have long term effects of those affected.
Emotional abusers can manipulate you to the point where lose your sense of independence and self-worth and isolate you from others, which can result in you feeling that you have no life without your abusive partner or that there is no way out of your relationship.
Emotional abuse can include verbal abuse and controlling behaviour such as intimidation, isolation, shaming, blaming, name-calling, and shouting. Abusers who use psychological or emotional abuse will often make threats of physical violence, as well as other repercussions, if you do not do what they demand.
Financial abuse is another form of emotional abuse and can include the following:
- Taking your money or stealing from your bank account
- Sabotaging your job – calling constantly or making you miss work
- Preventing you from choosing your own career or working
- Restricting you to an allowance or not allowing you access to your money or bank cards
- Withholding basic necessities, such as medications and period products, clothes, and food
- Rigidly controlling your finances
Supporting someone experiencing domestic abuse or violence
If you have spotted any of the signs of domestic abuse, reaching out to your friend or relative is the first step. Remember that it is not easy to leave a violent partner and that it is more of a process, rather than a single act. It takes, on average, seven attempts before a woman is able to leave her partner for good and the risk of harm may increase after they have left.
Remember: if you see or hear an assault, or you are worried that your friend or relative might be in an emergency situation, you should call the Police on 999.
How to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month
There are a number of different ways that you can support Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
One way is to help raise awareness about domestic violence, including the impact it has on people and how to spot the signs. You can post messages on social media so that your friends, family, and followers learn about domestic violence. You may also decide to host or support an event.
Fundraising is another thing that you can do in order to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month. From bake sales to fun runs, there are many different events that you can organize in order to raise awareness about domestic violence and raise funds for victims too. This does not need to be community event, you may decide to simply have some friends and family around your home and have a wine tasting evening or coffee morning. You can then raise awareness about domestic violence and ask people to donate.
Council Policy on Domestic Abuse
The Council developed this policy as part of its commitment to support employee’s health and wellbeing at work and recognises that domestic abuse affects people in all aspects of life, including the workplace.
The policy and procedure provide guidance on supporting employees who are subject to domestic abuse and provides details on how to access specialist advice and support.
The council also provide up to 10 working days per year paid safe leave in the event of an employee seeking a period of leave to seek help, support or safe alternative accommodation as a result of domestic abuse, which may be necessary at very short notice.
Further Sources of Support and Advice for Domestic Abuse
Argyll & Bute Women’s Aid 01369 706636
National Domestic Violence Helpline: (Freephone) 0808 2000 247
ASSIST 0141 276 7710
Please also let us know your thoughts and ideas about the items featured in our Wellbeing Wednesdays each week and send us your suggestions for future topics – we love to hear from you.
The Wellbeing Team: firstname.lastname@example.org