At your service
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.