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Mental health comes to the fore at network operator's depot

By Staff Reporter

A mental health charity shared advice with workers at Scottish and Southern Energy Network's (SSEN) Inverness depot during a visit.

The network operator for the north of Scotland has been training a network of mental health first aiders to deal with staff who may be suffering from related problems.

First aiders from across SSEN’s Highlands and Islands region – including Orkney, Western Isles, Kyle of Lochalsh, Skye, Caithness and Inverness – came together to attend a session delivered by HUG Action for Mental Health.

Some of SSEN’s mental health first aiders with Joanna Higgs, HUG development worker (front centre).
Some of SSEN’s mental health first aiders with Joanna Higgs, HUG development worker (front centre).

HUG is a network of people living in the Highlands who have experience of mental ill health. The organisation, founded in 1996, works with a membership of more than 350 people, all taking part from within other agencies’ mental health support services, dotted throughout the Highlands. HUG campaigns to improve the rights, services and treatment of people with mental health problems, challenging stigma and discrimination, and improving understanding through awareness raising.

The visit to SSEN's depot aimed to give the company's first aiders an understanding of the vital work the charity does through collective advocacy across the Highlands and beyond.

Pamela Harvey, customer relationship manager for SSEN’s Highlands and Islands region, said: “We are committed to removing the stigma of talking about mental health and we are proud to have so many people in our Highland region who want to help their colleagues going through difficult times by signposting them to professional services including our own employee assistance programme and self-help techniques.”

The company's mental health first aiders are equipped with the knowledge to direct colleagues living with mental health problems to sources of professional support, helping to remove stigma and fear and to give confidence in approaching a person in distress.

Joanna Higgs, HUG development worker, added: “It was great to meet such a dedicated team of people at SSEN – an excellent example of what a large employer can achieve and offer to make the workplace a safer and easier place to be.

“At HUG we are strong campaigners for mental health and safety to have equal status and importance as physical health and safety; indeed to have it embedded within workplace health and safety in general.”

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