At your ser­vice

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

THE OBAN TIMES, to­gether 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 Ha­ley Dun­can, 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, In­ver­ness, that de­liv­ers short, time-lim­ited in­ter­ven­tions for peo­ple with any men­tal health di­ag­no­sis. We de­liver four skills-based groups over two weeks 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 with skills 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. What is your back­ground?

A. I com­pleted my men­tal health nurs­ing train­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Stir­ling’s Stir­ling cam­pus three years ago. I have spent two-and-a-half years work­ing in acute men­tal health wards at New Craigs and six months in this ser­vice.

Q. Why did you de­cide to be­come a men­tal health nurse?

A. I ini­tially stud­ied psy­chol­ogy at Strath­clyde Uni­ver­sity in Glas­gow, how­ever, I re­alised I prefer a much more hands- on style of work­ing. I had briefly worked in a so­cial care set­ting for those with men­tal health prob­lems and de­cided this was the route I wanted to take.

Q. What is your favourite part of men­tal health nurs­ing?

A. Talk­ing to peo­ple. My role en­ables me to pro­vide em­pa­thy and emo­tional sup­port for some­one when they’re open­ing up their deep­est feel­ings and thoughts to me. It’s a priv­i­leged po­si­tion to be in.

Q. Is there still a stigma at­tached to men­tal health?

A. I would say that there is a huge stigma at­tached to peo­ple who have men­tal ill­health. We need to ed­u­cate peo­ple on the is­sues and raise aware­ness of men­tal health.

We need to change the cul­ture in re­la­tion to men­tal health and one of the best ways of do­ing that is through ed­u­ca­tion. There should be a ded­i­cated pro­gramme rolled- out through schools to Hay­ley Dun­can be­lieves there is still a huge stigma at­tached to peo­ple who have men­tal ill-health. teach young­sters that men­tal ill-health can hap­pen to any­one and that there is sup­port avail­able.

Q. What at­tracted you to work in the sup­port­ing self man­age­ment ser­vice?

A. The job was ad­ver­tised in­ter­nally and I was look­ing for a new chal­lenge. I had achieved all the goals I had set my­self be­fore I started work­ing in a ward and I wanted to try some­thing new. This job al­lows me to be au­tonomous and cre­ative. It’s an ex­cit­ing opportunity to de­velop a ser­vice that can be a real ben­e­fit to pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.

Q. Is there such a thing as a typ­i­cal work­ing week for you?

A. I wouldn’t say so be­cause the job has so many roles within it. As well as the self man­age­ment ser­vice, we dip into the per­son­al­ity dis­or­der ser­vice. I spend a lot of time work­ing with dif­fer­ent groups as well as han­dling re­fer­rals, team meet­ings and com­plet­ing train­ing and de­vel­op­ment. I love the va­ri­ety this job pro­vides as it con­trib­utes to my pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and pro­vides var­i­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn.

Q. What is the long-term aim for the ser­vice?

A. We have made a very pos­i­tive start to the ser­vice, with great feed­back from pa­tients and col­leagues. We want to keep build­ing that mo­men­tum and gain more re­fer­rals to the ser­vice and roll- out train­ing to staff across High­land.

Q. How do you re­lax away from your work?

A. I love go­ing for walks, pho­tog­ra­phy and spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends.

Q. De­scribe your role in three words...

A. Re­ward­ing, chal­leng­ing and stim­u­lat­ing.

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