At your service
THE OBAN TIMES, together with NHS Highland, is running a series of articles putting the spotlight on people who work in healthcare across the area.
Answering the questions this week is Maryann Ness, a mental health practitioner with the newly- established supporting self-management service.
Q. What is your background?
A. I trained as a mental health nurse at the University of Stirling’s Highland campus and qualified in 1999. I’ve worked in various departments in New Craigs Hospital over the years, including the rehabilitation service and crisis services.
I’ve also been involved in the personality disorder service for the last four years.
I’ve completed my dialetical behaviour therapy and for six years have been teaching nursing at the University of Stirling two days a week.
Q. What do you enjoy the most about your teaching role?
A. I like the autonomy it provides and it’s great when you see things clicking for people. I enjoy giving people the opportunity to think and develop their own ideas and that is the same for the patients I work with in the 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 a two-week period. These are focused on learning and developing life and self- management skills including activities of daily living, stress responses and a range of skills designed to help people lead a less impulsive life. Individuals who use the service will also create a self-management plan, including a crisis plan to use in future.
Q. What is self management?
A. It’s about managing your own mental health instead of relying on professionals and therapies that, in terms of time, can be limited and restrictive. We try and put across the message that what people can’t do for you, you need to do for yourself. A lot of people don’t realise what they can do for themselves and we encourage them to believe in their own abilities and to take control of their health.
Q. What are your favourite elements of your role in this service?
A. Being able to create new things and offer something differently. As we’re a new service, we have been able to create it ourselves and think creatively rather than being restricted by the ways things have always been done.
We hope this has a positive impact on our patients, as a fresh approach can sometimes work best.
Q. How receptive have your patients been in the early stages of the service?
A. They have been very responsive, which is interesting as you never know how people will respond. I suppose this is because we’re not teaching people anything they didn’t already know about, but giving them support and guidance to manage their mental health.
Q. How do you relax away from your work?
A. I have two teenage sons, so I never get to relax! I love to do yoga and I love playing the guitar. I love to travel and see new places whenever I get the chance.