Wellbeing Wednesday Monthly Edition

Deaf awareness hands

Wednesday 10th May 2023

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello and welcome to May’s Wellbeing Wednesday. Those of you who have been reading our updates for a while will know how much I love the outdoors and gardening – and isn’t May the month for bringing colour into our lives! All those rhododendrons, azaleas, blossoms and new green leaves give me a real boost.

This week we have information for you on a variety of topics as usual, which we hope are interesting and useful for you. Deaf Awareness Week is an important one as so many of those around us may be suffering from deafness or hearing loss without us being aware. Our actions can make a big difference to them – and if you are affected yourself and are finding that you are needing support to help you manage at work, please do contact our wellbeing team wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk

We also have information on anxiety, depression and hypertension as well as updates on our Health Assured wellbeing seminars. I attended the menopause webinar in April and it was absolutely excellent, full of very useful information to help understanding around the impact of the menopause and what happens, physically and mentally, to your body. It was delivered by an expert in the field who delivered the session really well and facilitated all the many questions that were asked. I would definitely recommend accessing the webinar using the link below.

Our Occupational health provider will be presenting a series of four one hour webinars on musculoskeletal health starting on Tuesday 23rd May at 12 noon, so if you are interested in techniques for tackling back and neck health, particularly from sitting at a desk, please do join us – see the link below.

As always I hope this has been helpful – I am off for a quick lunchtime walk to admire the greenery! See you next month.

Deaf Awareness Week

Deaf Awareness Week takes place annually, in 2023 taking place from the 2nd to the 8th of May, to promote the positivity of living with deafness and to raise awareness of the isolation that deaf people can experience, whilst promoting social inclusion for those with hearing loss.

The week also generates awareness of British Sign Language, spreading the form of communication to make society a more accessible place for people with hearing loss.

The UK Council on Deafness supports deaf people and their families, as well as celebrates local organisations that provide support to the deaf community.

There are 12 million people in the UK who are deaf or suffering from hearing loss of greater than 25 dBHL, and 151,000 people using British Sign Language. It has also been reported that people who are deaf or have hearing loss are 50% more likely to have poor mental health, meaning that is vitally important that we show support to the deaf community.

By 2035, it is estimated that there will be 15.6 million adults with hearing loss, again highlighting the importance of creating a network of support for members of the deaf community to ensure they don’t feel isolated.

It is important that deaf employees are supported in the workplace, with a reported 74% of deaf people feeling that their employment opportunities are limited because of their hearing loss.

There are many ways to support for the deaf community, and one of the most significant is to make sure you are communicating correctly with them and making simple changes can be really effective.

The top tips for communicating with deaf people are as follows:

  • Always face the person
  • Speak clearly, slowly and steadily
  • Don’t cover your mouth- so the person can lip read
  • Repeat and rephrase if necessary
  • Reduce background noise – move to a quiet area

If you feel you may have some hearing loss you can undertake a free online hearing test and see further resources seeking further medical advice:

Hearing test – 3 minutes, free, online, easy and reliable | RNID

For more information and resources on hearing loss:

Hearing Link Services – UK Hearing Loss Charity

Deaf awareness – RNID

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 5 – 21 May. This national campaign is an annual event aiming to highlight important aspects of mental health education and help people get support.

This year’s theme is ‘anxiety’ which is one of the most common types of mental health problem faced in the UK.  While most of us will experience anxious feelings from time to time, for some people, these feelings of anxiety are more constant and can affect their daily life. A recent study by the Mental Health Foundation found that “a quarter of adults said they felt so anxious that it stopped them from doing the things they want to do some or all of the time

Anxiety can affect us physically and mentally. If you are feeling anxious, you might notice increased heart rate, headaches, loss of appetite, breathlessness or chest pain. (If you are experiencing these symptoms frequently you should see a healthcare professional who can also rule out any other physical causes for this). Anxiety might make you feel tense or nervous, you may find it hard to relax, feel tearful or have problems sleeping and concentrating. Your friends or family might notice that you are more irritable than usual, or possibly more withdrawn. You may also appear to be absolutely fine on the outside but have feelings of panic inside.

Help is at hand. There are things that we can all do to protect our mental health and manage anxiety.  What works best will be different from person to person.

Things that might be helpful include being active, getting outside more, practising breathing techniques, or getting support and advice to tackle specific worries such as financial concerns  or relationship advice. Talking to a friend, or spending time with loved ones, is often a good first step to helping you with anxiety.  There are also numerous helplines and websites which can offer specialised support and advice.

You might want to try the simple 4-4-4 breathing technique to help you relax.

Take 4 seconds to INHALE (through your nose)

HOLD your inhale at the top for 4 seconds

Take 4 seconds to EXHALE (through your mouth)

Try to do this twice a day, up to four times a day and at any other time when you may be feeling anxious.

Anxiety – Every Mind Matters – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Get Help – Anxiety UK

Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 | Mental Health Foundation

Living with Depression

Millions of people around the world live with depression. “Living with a black dog” is a guide for partners, carers and sufferers of depression. It advises those living with and caring for people with depression on what to do, what not to do, and where to go for help.

“Living with a black dog” is a follow-up to “I had a black dog, his name was depression,” which offers practical advice for coming to terms with and overcoming depression.

Both videos were produced by writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone in collaboration with World Health Organisation, and were based on books of the same name.  The videos and books are wonderfully illustrated and provide a valuable insight to what it feels like to both live with depression as a sufferer and as someone who lives with a loved one suffering from depression.

You may not be able to access these videos on YouTube from a work PC or laptop but they are worth checking out from your personal device or try and get hold of a copy of the books.

I had a black dog, his name was depression – YouTube

Living with a black dog – YouTube

Stroke and Hypertension Awareness Day 17th May

Hypertension – High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is when blood pressure is too high. Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats.

Most people with hypertension do not have any obvious symptoms but others may experience:

  • Severe headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleed
  • Severe anxiety
  • Feeling of pulsations in the neck or head

Blood pressure test: 120/80 mm Hg is normal. You may be considered as having high blood pressure, if more than 3 readings, taken on different times and days, measure higher than 140/90.

If you feel that you are suffering from hypertension you should seek advice you’re your GP. Simple lifestyle changes can help to regulate high blood pressure, but when blood pressure is very high or lifestyle measures fail, medications may need to be prescribed and taken for life.

A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. Damage to the brain can affect how the body works. It can also change how you think and feel. The effects of a stroke depend on where it takes place in the brain, and how big the damaged area is.

There are three different types of stroke:

An ischaemic stroke is caused by a blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain. This is the most common type of stroke.

A haemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding in or around the brain.

A transient ischaemic attack or TIA is also known as a mini-stroke. It is the same as a stroke, except that the symptoms only last for a short amount of time. This is because the blockage that stops the blood getting to your brain is temporary.

As we age, our arteries become harder and narrower and more likely to become blocked. However, certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors can speed up this process and increase your risk of having a stroke.

All strokes are different. For some people the effects may be relatively minor and may not last long. Others may be left with more serious problems that make them dependent on other people.


Unfortunately, some strokes can be very serious and some may lead to coma or sudden death. That’s why it’s so important to be able to recognise the symptoms and get medical help as quickly as possible.

The quicker you receive treatment, the better your chances for a good recovery. 

Symptoms of stroke | Know the FAST test | Stroke Association

Stroke Association | Home

Stroke – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

High blood pressure (hypertension) – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

High blood pressure (Hypertension) – BHF

Wellbeing Webinars

Health Assured Webinars

As part of our ongoing Physio Pilot, our occupational Health Provider PAM will be holding a series of 4 short webinars on how to look after our musculoskeletal health at work, particularly for those working in a desk-based work environment.

The first 30 minute session will be held on Tuesday 23rd May at 12.00 p.m. and will cover simple techniques to overcome aches and pains when working at a desk and to provide some hints and tips, stretches and exercises and reasons to keep moving.

Please put the following link in your calendars and join us for an informative session on preventing musculoskeletal difficulties in the desk based-work environment. 

The next sessions will be held at 2 weekly intervals (on Tuesdays at 12.00 p.m.) and joining instructions for these will published shortly.

                                                  Microsoft Teams meeting – Session 1

                                                        Click here to join the meeting

                                                         Meeting ID: 358 267 181 953
                                                                  Passcode: hP4wH7

This month’s bite size wellbeing webinar from our Employee Assistance Programme provider is: Mental Health Awareness.  In this webinar, you’ll learn more about mental health stigma, as well as how to spot the signs of poor mental health and support others around you.

You can access via: Webinars | Health Assured (healthassuredeap.co.uk)

Menopause Webinar:

If you missed our last Superwellness webinar on Understanding and Embracing the Menopause held on 19th April – you can find a recording/slides from the session here along with information and recipes to help as you transition through the menopause.


Health Assured also provide a free and confidential helpline which is available 24/7 – Tel: 0800 028 0199 or you can download the Health Assured App via Apple Store or Play Store for Android devices.

As always, please 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 wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk