At your ser­vice

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

Maryann Ness.

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