Thanks and look after yourself

Dear Colleagues.

I would like to pay tribute to the huge amount of work you have done this week to help protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19.

I know how much effort this is demanding of all our services. It means quite considerable change to how we work. The pace and volume of work required are demanding.

I want you to know that everything you are doing is appreciated. What you are doing is receiving thanks and recognition from many different sources. From many members of our communities for example, from COSLA, from Scottish Government ministers, I could go on.

I would like to add my own thanks to you – I am very proud to be the Chief Executive of a council with such hard-working, professional and talented people.

Thank you for everything you are doing for Argyll and Bute.

I also want to urge you please to look after yourself as well as others. We are working in demanding circumstances.

Below therefore you will find information about the council’s employee assistance programme, along with advice from the Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey MSP.

Please do read this. Pass it to any colleagues who may not see this message, and speak up if you need support.

Thank you again – together we are a great team for Argyll and Bute.

Pippa Milne

Chief Executive


You Need Care Too

The council’s Employee Counselling Service is provided by Health Assured. It gives independent confidential support, information and help. This is an employee benefit designed to help you, your spouse or partner and any dependents in your household, aged 16-24 who are in full time education, deal with any personal or professional problems which could be impacting on general health and well-being. Call: 0800 030 5182

Here are some tips for staying safe and well.

Information and social media

  • Get timely, accurate and factual information about COVID-19 from a reliable source no more than a couple of times a day.
  • If you are feeling stressed or anxious, consider how you feel when you have constant exposure to media coverage and graphic news stories. Although it is important to stay informed, consider taking a break if you feel things are getting on top of you.

Looking after your basic needs

  • Take care of your basic needs at work. Eat and drink regularly and healthily. Always take regular breaks when you are working.
  • Allow time for sleep, rest and respite between shifts.
  • Try and stay as connected to your friends and family as much as possible via technology.
  • Maintain, where possible, your normal daily routine and a healthy diet, and get fresh air when you can. Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies that involve alcohol, tobacco or an unhealthy diet.
  • Think about creating a consistent routine to ensure you get the amount of sleep you need, but also about ensuring your bedroom is quiet, dark and a relaxing environment to sleep in.

Looking after each other

  • Speak to colleagues, line managers and professional leaders, building this into your team catch ups.  Your colleagues may be feeling the same way. It’s good to talk. Peer and social support are often the best buffers against stress and adversity.
  • Look out for each other and share small successes about what’s gone well.
  • Be kind to each other. This can have a profound impact on staff wellbeing.
  • It’s good to talk, but not all of you will be ‘talkers’. That’s OK too but make sure you give yourself space to process the events of the day and deal with your feelings.

Additional information

  • It is perfectly normal to feel worried during exceptional times such as these. However, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, or a colleague. A helpline such as NHS24 (shortcode 111) or Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) may also help.

You may find the following websites of assistance: