Renfrewshire Council

Anxiety, wellbeing and employee support

Mental health awareness week (15 - 21 May)

Anxiety affects so many of us and is the theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week (15 - 21 May).

The Mental Health Foundation describes anxiety as feeling tense or nervous, finding it hard to relax, feeling tearful or having problems sleeping and concentrating. Friends or family might notice you are more irritable than usual, or more withdrawn. Perhaps you seem fine on the outside but feel panicky at times and find these feelings difficult to manage.

This year's campaign focuses on the impact of anxiety, encouraging people to talk about their mental health and share ideas on ways to cope. At Renfrewshire Council, we aim to nurture an open, supportive culture where our employees feel confident in sharing their personal experiences, knowing help is at hand.

Talking in confidence with a trusted friend can make a huge difference to your wellbeing, however there may be times when it's easier to reach out to someone who doesn't know you so well. With more than 50 colleagues trained in mental health first aid across the council we offer friendly, reassuring peer support, linking to professional services or simply listening with compassion and care. We spoke to mental health first aider Lesley Rodgers, who works in our waste advice team,  to find out more about this wellbeing service - read her article on our staff stories webpage.

As an employer, we also offer a free, confidential employee assistance counselling service provided by our Time for Talking partner, together with regular training opportunities for managers and staff on dealing with stress and anxiety. These courses are available on  ilearn, our e-learning platform.

Learning to spot the signs of anxiety and finding ways to manage and cope with those feelings is a key priority of the Mental Health Foundation who lead the awareness week campaign. There are many well documented approaches to help with anxiety, one of which is spending time outdoors and connecting with nature which has many proven health benefits. Our Anxiety, mental health and finding calm in nature blog from has more on this, as well as some great ideas for peaceful places to visit.

This weekend (Saturday 20 May) Renfrewshire Anti Stigma Alliance are hosting a free 'Wellbeing in the Park' event in Fountain Gardens, Paisley, from 12pm - 4pm with local entertainment, music, dance and the spoken word. Visit the Recovery Across Mental Health (RAMH) Facebook page for details.  

Don't forget to visit our employee wellbeing hub for a host of information, guidance and colleague stories.

Published on Wednesday 17 May 2023