‘Both my roles provide me with daily challenges’
THE OBAN TIMES, in partnership with NHS Highland, is running a series of articles which puts the spotlight on people who work in healthcare across our area. Answering the questions this week is Demi Velzian, a mental health practitioner with the newly established supporting self-management service.
Q. What is the supporting self-management service?
A. We’re a new service based at New Craigs Hospital in Inverness that delivers short, time-limited interventions for people with any mental health diagnosis. We deliver four skills-based groups over a twoweek period that are focused on learning and developing life and self-management skills such as activities of daily living, the stress response and a range of ‘decider’ skills designed to equip people to lead a less impulsive life. Individuals who use the service will also create a self-management plan, including a crisis plan to use in times of future distress.
Q. How are people referred to the service?
A. Anyone who has been assessed by a mental health professional in either a community mental health team or hospital setting can be referred to our service. How- ever, we have certain criteria that each person must meet in order to ensure they can adapt to self-management and the challenges that come with it. Following referral, if appropriate, individuals will be invited for a one-to- one consultation to orientate them to the service.
Q. Were you working with NHS Highland before working with this service?
A. Yes, I qualified as a nurse a year ago and I have been working in the Clava ward at New Craigs Hospital, which is a dementia assessment ward. I attended the University of Stirling’s Highland campus and secured a job with NHS Highland after graduating. Q. How did you find the transition from being a student to working on the ward? A. I really enjoyed the challenge. Working in a dementia assessment ward is very hands- on and I have learned a great deal from my experienced colleagues.
It can be emotionally demanding seeing patients at their worst, but it also means that I can try to help them and their families.
Working in mental health puts me and my colleagues in a very privileged position.
Q. What attracted you to the supporting self-management service?
A. I saw the position advertised and I have always been interested in psychological distress, as I like the idea of helping people on a one-to- one basis as well as in a group setting. I still work on the ward and both my roles are providing me with challenges and opportunities to test myself on a daily basis.
Q. How do you balance what must be two demanding roles?
A. In a normal week, I work three days in the supporting self-management service and the rest of the time on the ward, although it doesn’t always work out that way. I enjoy working across different areas of mental health and it can only help with my own professional development as a mental health practitioner, as both roles complement each other. It means I always have to be ahead of the game and let my respective line managers know where I’m going to be and when.
Q. What are the most rewarding elements of your role in supporting self-management?
A. It enables me to work with people who are at a low point in their life as they usually come to us when they’ve gone through a really difficult period. Seeing them being honest and open about their struggles and being able to help them move forward is extremely gratifying.
Q. What do you like to do to switch off from your work?
A. Working in two jobs doesn’t provide me with many opportunities to switch off completely. However, I like to walk my dog and I love photography. I’ve lived in Inverness since I was six years old, having moved with my family from Orkney, and there are so many picturesque spots across the Highlands to indulge in both of my favourite hobbies.