Mental Health Training

A recent blog post on the BBC’s “Ouch” pages asks “Do you need a mental health first aider in the office?” Approximately one in four adults of working age will suffer from mental health problems at some point in their career. Given the high costs of mental health problems, to employees personally and to businesses as a whole, it would seem that most workplaces would benefit from a person trained to provide mental health support to their coworkers.

Health in Mind is an Edinburgh based charity that promotes positive mental health and wellbeing throughout Scotland. Their newly launched training program offers a number of courses that would help promote a positive mental health in the workplace.

Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid is a two day course open to anyone with a personal or professional interest in mental health that promotes the recovery of good mental health, and provide comfort and understanding to those experiencing distress or mental health issues. The next course will be running on September 25th/October 2nd. There is a similar course focused specifically on younger people: SMHFA (Young People) , next running on February 3rd 2015

Health in Mind is also providing a one-day course on Mindfulness in the Workplace that offers an introduction to the concept of mindfulness to support awareness and resilience of mental health in the workplace, with upcoming courses on October 9th and December 10th.

Full details of all training courses offered by Health in Mind can be found on their Training website. To reserve a place, or for further information, email or call 0131 225 8508.

Talking about mental health in the workplace

Discussing mental health can still be taboo in the workplace. The human cost is well-documented, but there is also a strong business case for changing this – a recent report from the Business in the Community (BITC) Workwell group suggests that this is having a detrimental effect on the productivity of UK businesses.

Figures from the report suggest that 15.2million days of sickness absence in 2013 were caused by mental health issues such as stress, anxiety or depression. This figure was 11.8 million in 2010, and the dramatic increase is a worrying rise.

It also poses a question:  if one in six employees are experiencing difficulty with their mental health, why is it that many businesses do not have in place plans to ensure the mental wellbeing of their employees?

Louise Aston from the the Workwell campaign called this a result of the ‘culture of silence’ in this Guardian article. But how can we break down this culture?

Thankfully, the BITC group have been taking positive action: a list of the great and good have taken the Time to Change pledge  including American Express, BaxterStorey, BT; Bupa, BITC, Friends Life, Mars; National Grid, Procter & Gamble, Right Management, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Santander

This move towards businesses recognising the need to address mental health as a serious concern suggest that we can perhaps be hopeful for a future where mental health is no longer such an unspeakable topic. And with people such as Ruby Wax calling for those who are experiencing poor mental health to speak out – we can perhaps look forward this taboo in the workplace is finally broken down.

Annual Conference – Social Enterprise Policy and Practice

Superb event, great networking opportunity and discussions of new ideas….

Speaker presentations from the plenary and breakout sessions are now available at

Best wishes


Be part of World Suicide Prevention Week – come and support the Choose Life Challenge Cup, Gracemount Leisure Centre, Edinburgh, 9.30 – 12.30, Saturday 7th September!  “Talk to Someone You Can Trust”

International Day of Happiness

At 11.02am today the spring equinox will occur marking the start of spring. Spring is often a time for celebration and happiness as the days get longer, the weather gets nicer (let’s ignore the snow for now!) and everywhere you look little lambs are frolicking in the fields.

happinessIt’s only fitting then that the UN will be celebrating another first on 20th March 2013 – International Day of Happiness. Today the UN recognises that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”

In July 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/281 which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March. The creation of the International Day of Happiness followed on from the first ever United Nations  conference on Happiness and Wellbeing and an earlier UN resolution calling for member states to place a greater focus on the happiness of their citizens.

Many governments are now moving towards measuring national prosperity beyond economic factors to include new elements such as happiness and wellbeing. Indeed, David Cameron stated that Britain will “start measuring our progress as a country not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving, not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life,”

For a long time research in the field of mental health has focused primarily on mental ill-health rather than the full spectrum of mental wellbeing. However, the growth of positive psychology in the late 20th century has given rise to the importance of giving attention to our positive thoughts, feelings and actions, as opposed to focusing on negative thoughts or actions. By reminding ourselves what went well instead of what went wrong, positive psychologists believe we can build a buffer against unhappiness, making us better able to take life’s knocks when they occur. Having a greater insight into what makes us happy in the first place can lead to practical actions to make us happier.

One of the founders of positive psychology, Martin Seligman summarizes human happiness:

When we have…

   Pleasure (tasty foods, warm baths etc… )

   Engagement (the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity)

   Relationships (social ties are extremely reliable indicator of happiness)

  Meaning (a perceived pursuit or belonging to something bigger)

  Accomplishments (having recognised, concrete goals)

Do you agree with Martin Seligman? Join the discussion on twitter with #happyday and share what makes you happy.

Give a thought to your mental wellbeing this St Patrick’s Day

This weekend pubs in Edinburgh will be packed for two reasons. Many will be celebrating or commiserating the end of the six nations but many more will be celebrating in the name of St Patrick – Ireland’s patron saint.

There is something about St Patrick’s Day that has captured the hearts of people far from the shores of the Emerald Isle. With its growing popularity St Patrick’s Day has become synonymous with drinking large amounts of alcohol. And it’s fair to say that we like our alcohol in Britain. A 2005 report published by WHO found that the UK has the 15th highest consumption of alcohol in the world (Ireland was 13th).

St Patricks Day Thirst


We all know that binge drinking is bad for us. But how aware are we of the drinks we rack up throughout the week? A bottle of wine with dinner, a pint after work or even a nightcap doesn’t seem like a lot but it can all add up with many people drinking far more than they realise.

Government guidelines recommend that women shouldn’t drink more than 2-3 units a day and men, 3-4 units and we should also be aiming to have at least TWO alcohol-free days a week.

If you drink responsibly and stick to the sensible drinking guidelines, you can have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing, both in the short and the long-term. Some of the benefits are obvious when you look in the mirror; others are about feeling happier, healthier and having more energy.

You don’t have to be an alcoholic or dependence on alcohol for it to effective your physical and mental health. Many successful, high-achieving business men and women often use alcohol as a way to unwind and relax after a stressful day at the office. Overtime alcohol can become associated with relaxation and an unhelpful coping strategy develops to help manage everyday anxiety and stress. Research has found that anxiety and depression are more common in heavy drinkers and heavy drinking is more common in those with anxiety and depression.

So why not use this St Patrick’s Day to examine your relationship with booze and give a thought to your mental health.

If you feel that you use alcohol to help cope with anxiety and stress we can help. Get in touch with resolve on 0131 718 6003 or email

working from home

The recent publication of an internal memo from Yahoo has sparked renewed controversy over the issue of working from home. From June this year Yahoo employees will be banned from working from home and have to come into the office daily.

Employers and employees are divided over the issue of home working – some believe that working from home is the future of business, while others consider it to be damaging to productivity. Wording from the Yahoo memo would suggest that they side with the latter, stating, “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home”.

Meanwhile, the majority of businesses are working to increase flexibility for employees and working from home is encouraged in many countries to help with the work/life balance and support families. Whatever your opinion, working from home is becoming increasingly common but it does present many potential dangers to mental health.

I’m always at work

Working from home has many benefits: no commuting, home comforts and none of the distractions of the office. However, if your home is your office it can be hard to ‘switch off’ outside of office hours. A study published in the Monthly Labor Review (Profs M Noonan & J Glass: June, 2012) found that employees work between five to seven hours more at home than they would in an office setting. Workers can spend a large part of their evenings thinking about work with the temptation to ‘just finish off that project’.

If your work and home life is blurred try to have a separate space or room that you work in. Once the day is done close the door on your home office – out of sight helps greatly with out of mind.  If you’re really struggling to separate to two, think about spending a few more days in the office.

I have to prove that I’m working

This can be a common reason to work longer hours and relates to the point above. Home workers often have a fear that colleagues and managers won’t believe that they are working so they must prove it. It’s a common assurance to send emails late at night or early in the morning to prove to others that you are at your desk. However, this can have a detrimental impact on our mental health with the stress of having to prove yourself making us less productive!

If it was true that you weren’t working, it is likely that your manager would notice that deadlines aren’t met and work isn’t done. Don’t become your own worst enemy and get caught up in this cycle. Working from home requires boundaries to be set between personal and work time. Free-time is needed to recharge batteries and rest so that we can be more productive when we are at work.

geishaboy500 / / CC BY

geishaboy500 / / CC BY

People don’t see it as real work

Working from home can be seen as a bit of a ‘skive’ or ‘not real’ work. Family and friends can have difficulty understanding that you are working and ask for favours or pop around for a cup of tea during working hours. Young children can also find it hard to understand that you are working. This can have a negative impact on your mood if you are constantly justifying why you can’t do something or if you feel guilty for not doing something. In the long-term this could lead to resentment of others or feeling inadequate about your work.

Help others understand by setting clear boundaries and communicate with them so that everyone is clear of the rules when you’re working. Ask yourself if you would answer your mobile in the office, if you wouldn’t then try not to at home. Be as consistent as possible with children so that they know the rules too.

It’s lonely

One of the biggest downsides of working from home is the possibility of feeling isolated and being disconnected from work colleagues. With a lot of communication done via email it can be easy go for long periods without actually talking to colleagues.

Overcome isolation by having real-time communication by phone or video chats and consider splitting your time between the office and home.  Staying connected to your workplace and colleagues makes you feel like a valued part of the company and increases motivation.

Changes may be underway at Yahoo but with such a wave of public backlash, both international and within Yahoo, it seems unlikely that working from home will disappear anytime soon.

What is love?

In case you didn’t guess from all of the hearts, red roses and chocolates that have besieged the high street over the last few weeks, today is Thursday 14th of February: Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day can be stressful. People who are in relationships worry about what to get each other (Will they like it? Will it be good enough? Is it too predictable? Have a spent enough?). Those who don’t have a partner can sometimes feel sad or lonely and convince themselves that they are the only single person on the planet. At the very least, the day can bring confusion about what people should be feeling versus what they are feeling, in or out of relationships.


Photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani / / CC BY

The top question asked of Google last year was: What is love? A difficult question with many answers and even more interpretations, the Oxford English Dictionary describes love as “a feeling or disposition of deep affection or fondness for someone”. The definition doesn’t mention soul mate, partner or ‘the One’ so why do we so closely associated a partner with the ability to participate in a day that celebrates love?

Whether you’re single or coupled-up why not use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate all of your relationships (romantic or not)?

Instead of trying to prove your love for someone on a single day with grand gestures, take the time to show your appreciation for the people in your life who are important all 365 days of the year.

  • Reach out to friends and arrange a dinner with a group to catch up on news.
  • Take today as an opportunity to spend some time to yourself. Book a massage, have a bubble bath, buy yourself a present, make your favourite meal, or do an activity that you enjoy. Today doesn’t have to be about spending a lot of money, use the day as an opportunity to appreciate you.
  • Visit family members you don’t see very often. By spending the day with them you will make them feel special and may be surprised at how good you feel too.
  • Curl up in front of the TV and watch a film. Love Actually was recently voted the most romantic film in a LoveFilm poll. You may not want to watch a romantic film but try taking them as a bit of entertainment and appreciating that most are unrealistic – no one has ever fallen into a lake as often as Colin Firth!

You have the power to choose whether you want Valentine’s Day to be a positive or negative day. It shouldn’t matter whether you have a significant other or not.

And finally, if all else fails, remember that in less than 24 hours it’s Friday – a much better day by far!

Photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani / / CC BY

International Women’s Day is just 6 weeks away

International Women’s Day is on Friday 8 March 2013 and thousands of events are being held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. resolve is excited to announce that we will be hosting a well-being event in Edinburgh city centre.

Come along and bring a friend!

Hosted by the local ‘Mumpreneur’ Anna Louise Simpson, AKA “Mama Tea“. Be inspired as she shares her fascinating journey from corporate lawyer, to oil painter, to full time mum and founder of her awarding winning herbal tea company.

It will be a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of opportunity for proper “me-time”, whether it’s chatting and sharing experiences with fellow guests, having a pamper at one of the beauty stations or benefiting from the coaching and well-being experts who will be on hand running workshops and providing expert advice.

Not only will you be looking after your own well-being but by buying a ticket you are also helping to support women around the world. £5 from every ticket sold will help to support the excellent work of the international charity, Women for Women International.

let's hear it for the girls....

Time to Change Pledge

Today resolve became one of over 30,000 companies and individuals to sign the ‘Time To Change’ pledge, which encourages everyone to stop the stigma associated with mental health.

Nine out of ten people with mental health problems have faced discrimination.

image taken from

image taken from

For UK businesses mental health is a real issue. Stress has overtaken physical health problems such as back pain, to become the number one cause of long-term sick leave (CiPD). Every person needs to do their bit to change the culture within businesses to open up discussions about mental health and the impact of poor mental health on an organisation and its employees.

Everyone has mental health.

Do your bit and sign the pledge at

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