Renfrewshire Council

"Let's Talk" staff wellbeing: Brenda's story

Head of Glenburn Early Learning and Childcare Centre (ELCC), Brenda Rankin explains how the nursery has prioritised mental health and why it's important everyone has space to talk about their feelings.

Brenda Rankin Glenburn ELCC
Brenda (left) and her colleague Maureen
"My colleagues at Glenburn ELCC and I feel that mental health is extremely important at any age or stage of life. It affects every aspect of a person's wellbeing from mood and stress levels to how we deal with things. Poor mental health can be socially isolating and sometimes people might be embarrassed to speak about how they feel.

"We have tried to create a safe and nurturing environment where it's ok to say you're not ok. We openly talk about mental health and we do it sensitively and without prejudice. It means that staff, parents and children are able to share their feelings, thoughts and worries, and get support.


"We must be doing something right because staff are saying that they look forward coming into work, they feel safe talking about mental health, have learned helpful coping strategies and know they can get help if they need it.

"We recently won the 'Making a Difference' category in this year's Education Scotland awards which felt amazing and humbling."

"Removing the stigma for staff, parents and other service users supports people to get the help they need at the right time and will lead to more positive outcomes for everyone.

"Staff are mindful of the language they use with each other, with children, with parents and other service users. We've created nurturing spaces for children where they are supported to recognise and name their feelings and emotions with the use of aids like feelings cushions and stones, an emotions wall, storytelling, rhyme and drama. They are also encouraged to use kind language, work as teams and develop empathy."

"When someone is struggling, early intervention can really help. Sometimes the smallest of supports can have the biggest impact long term.  It's important to notice subtle changes in people, become more aware, know the language to use and have a knowledge of support services."

"My personal advice to anyone who is worried about their own mental health would be that you can change things. Little steps can make a difference. Take each day as it comes and always look after your wellbeing with some exercise, enough sleep and nourishing food - maybe try going for walks and get some headspace. Do what you can and always try to find some laughter in your day. Don't be afraid or nervous to talk through your worries or thoughts and remember nothing stays the same for long - grey clouds will pass. You are not alone. We see you and we are here to help."

Thanks to Brenda for sharing her story and to everyone at Glenburn ELCC for all their hard work to make the nursery a safe space for everyone. An especially big congratulations to the team for their dedication to mental health that earned them the 'Make a Difference award.

If you would like to find out more about the health and wellbeing supports available to you as a Renfrewshire Council colleague, visit our employee wellbeing hub.

Published on Wednesday 27 July 2022