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Let's flourish for Glasgow - your health and wellbeing strategy

The last year has presented us with many challenges - both as individuals in our personal lives, and also as employees working for Scotland's largest local authority.

Whilst we have all been on a different journey, and experienced different emotions along the way, there has been a collective understanding of the importance of compassion and the need to be there to support one another during difficult times.

The pandemic put a spotlight onto just how important the health and wellbeing of our workforce is. Our next  Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2021 to 2024 [994kb]  has now been developed and you are at the very core of its creation. It will focus on establishing a positive and healthy working environment where you can feel engaged and supported in key areas of interest to you.

It will be driven at a local level, listening to the needs and wants of our diverse workforce and put the right measures in place to deliver key actions to support you. We are committed to making sure that everyone can access our support arrangements over the next three years and I hope that everyone will embrace local plans and take part in activities of interest to them.

Your Staff Health and Wellbeing Handbook - your one stop shop for key support information

This detailed handbook brings together a wide range of recommended internal and external health and wellbeing information, guidance and support - all in the one place for ease of reference.

It contains quick links to all the relevant resources that can be accessed online - broken down into key topics and themes. For example:

  • Supporting a Healthy Lifestyle - such as physical or social wellbeing
  • Specific Health Needs - such as women's health
  • Health and Wellbeing Challenges - such as grief, alcohol, loneliness or financial concerns
  • Healthy Working Environment - such as health and safety or work-life balance.

Your Staff Health and Wellbeing handbook can be viewed here

Some of the links are to resources that might be held on Connect - if you do not have access to our intranet please speak to your manager for a copy of the required material.

Your Health and Wellbeing Resource Guide - where to get free support material

This comprehensive guide brings together free health and wellbeing resources that can be downloaded, printed or ordered in hard copy on various key health and wellbeing themes.

For example:

  • posters from the Samaritans and Drinkaware
  • self-help booklets from the NHS such as feeling anxious
  • leaflets on managing cancer and let's talk menopause
  • important pocket cards with emergency information and tips to deal with stress.

Your Health and Wellbeing Resource Guide can be viewed here.

Managers should use the Resource Guide to select and source key health and wellbeing resources for distribution in and around your workspace - such as posters, leaflets and pocket cards/ booklets.

Please print or order hard copies to display in communal areas such as staff rooms, canteens, reception areas and notice boards so they are easily accessible to all members of your team.

Able Futures - long term mental health support for staff

We can all have good days and bad days.

Sometimes mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, depression, trauma, bereavement, sleep problems or lack of confidence can affect our time at work and we need some support to help us feel better and to have more good days.

We are delighted to bring you access to nine months of free, confidential work-focused support from a qualified mental health professional - through our new partnership with Able Futures - the Access to Work mental health support service, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.

You can benefit from:

  • nine months personalised advice and guidance and regular appointments with a mental health professional
  • a plan to support your mental health by making adjustments, developing coping strategies and learning ways to look after your wellbeing
  • confidential, no cost support with no waiting list and no need for a mental health diagnosis - you can refer yourself and get help with whatever is on your mind.

Flexible, fast and easy to use service - how to get in touch with Able Futures

Able Futures

Their confidential service is quick and easy to access:

Next Virtual Appointment Day

If something is playing on your mind at work - chat to Able Futures at a Virtual Appointment Day

  • The Virtual Appointment Day will take place on Wednesday 15 June, from 7am to 5pm.
  • During your call you will have a confidential chat about whatever it is that is playing on your mind whilst at work. Able Futures will discuss the support available to you and if you decide to access this - they will be able to take your details whilst on the call and help you start your journey to mental wellbeing, all at your own pace.
  • This service is fully confidential, and we as your employer will not be made aware of any personal appointments or bookings.

How to book

You can book your timeslot at: https://calendly.com/thebetterhealthgenerationuk/appointment-booking-mental-health-support-gcc-june22

The call will take up to 30 minutes and you will need the following information to register for the phone call:

  • National Insurance number
  • Email address
  • Start date of current employment

For more information read pdf icon Welcome to Able Futures [424kb]

Existing support routes

  • Don't forget about our other support routes that are open to you such as our Employee Assistance Provider, Workplace Options.
  • They are available 24/7 for you to chat to in complete confidence - Freephone 0800 247 1100.
  • Dedicated freephone helplines: LGBT 0800 138 8725 and BME 0800 288 4950
  • For more support information read our staff health and wellbeing handbook.

For Managers

If you are concerned about money - key support and advice for your financial wellbeing

Below is a comprehensive list of some recommended Government approved pathways that are available to you, for free, impartial and confidential money advice and support. Information on local support services for Glasgow City and other Scottish Local Authority areas can be found here: https://www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk/cash-first-leaflets

You can also download and print the information below in our staff factsheet  pdf icon Your financial wellbeing - key advice and support factsheet [82kb] 

Benefits

1.     Citizens Advice Scotland -Freephone:0800 028 1456 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm) for help with housing, benefits, debt, and consumer issues such as energy bills. 

Visit: https://www.cas.org.uk/ for online information, advice, and guidance or find your local bureau.

2.     Social Security Scotland-Freephone: 0800 182 222(Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm) to find out about benefits and grants, need support paying for a funeral, disabled people, carers, young people entering the workplace. Visit www.mygov.scot/benefits for more information.

If you're disabled, you can get free support from an independent advocate to help you to apply for Social Security benefits. Freephone: 0300 303 1660, email: helpline@voiceability.org or visit: www.voiceability.org to find out more.

3.     Scottish Welfare Fund-you may be able to get a grant if you need help you pay for essentials, such as food, gas, electricity, or household goods. Visit: https://www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund/how-to-apply

4.     Department for Work and Pensions - for information on welfare, pensions and working age, disability, and ill health benefits visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions

5.     Long Term Conditions & MacMillan Cancer Support Service - Phone: 0141 287 5901(Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) for free, confidential money advice and support for anyone diagnosed with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, heart failure or stroke.

6.     Home Energy Scotland- Freephone:0808 808 2282 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-5pm) for advice and help to keep your home warm, cut your energy costs, and reduce your bills.Visit: https://www.homeenergyscotland.org/ for more information.

Debt advice

1.     National Debtline- Freephone: 0808 808 4000(Mon-Fri 9am-8pm,Sat 9.30am-1pm) for free advice and resources to help you with your debts.Visit: https://www.nationaldebtline.org/

2.     Step Change -Freephone 0800 138 111 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm) for free advice, guidance and tools to helpwith debt problems. Visit: https://www.stepchange.org/how-we-help/debt-advice-scotland.aspx

Community lenders

1.     Glasgow Credit Union (GCU)- Phone 0141 274 9933. Financial Benefits are available to council staff including low-cost loans, member discounts and competitive deals on mortgages and insurance. Visit: https://www.glasgowcu.com/gcc-join-today/ or their Financial Wellbeing Hub.

2.     Find Your Credit Union (FYCU) - Search the online directory of Credit Unions https://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/credit-unions/glasgow-credit-union/

More information and support

1.     Workplace options -our Employee Assistance Provider is available 24/7 for free, confidential, and independent advice and support that matters to you and your family.

Freephone: 0800 247 1100or email: assistance@workplaceoptions.com

2.     Breathing Space -Freephone: 0800 83 85 87 (Mon-Fri 6pm-2am, 24 hours at weekend) if you are feeling low, anxious, or depressed.

Don't miss out - how to take part in our free wellbeing sessions and read your stories and top tips

Wherever you are currently working, taking time to look after your mental and physical wellbeing is vital to staying healthy and happy - especially at this challenging time.

On Your Wellbeing Stories and Top Tips we showcase how teams are staying connected, keeping active, and put a spotlight on our local heroes making a real difference.

On our Get Involved This Month page we profile free events and health and wellbeing sessions you can take part in - such as how to help your mindfulness, reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety, support to help you return to work  good money management, and hybrid working. 

Top tips - using the five ways to wellbeing

Read our quick staff guide on pdf icon Tips for Wellbeing [717kb]  which incorporates the proven five ways to wellbeing to help support our mental health and wellbeing.

Five ways to wellbeing have many benefits and can be easily incorporated into our daily lives to help improve our mental health and wellbeing.

1. Give

  • Evidence shows that giving to others is good for our mental health and wellbeing. Giving may include doing something nice for a friend, supporting a fundraising event, or volunteering within your local community. 

Give  

  • Even the smallest act of kindness - whether it's a smile, a thank you, or a kind word - can help boost your own wellbeing whilst also helping to make someone else's day better. A single act of kindness often creates a ripple effect, inspiring and encouraging others to pass it on.

2. Learn

  • Learning has been shown in research to help improve and maintain our wellbeing.

Learn  

  • Learning can help to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem, build a sense of purpose and foster connection with others. It doesn't only come from enrolling in courses or working towards formal qualifications. It can involve basic activities such as cooking something new, working on a DIY project, or starting a new hobby.

3. Take Notice

  • It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much. However, research shows that taking more notice of the present moment - of our own thoughts and feelings, and of the world around us - can improve our mental wellbeing.

Take Notice  

  • Some people call this awareness 'mindfulness.'  Mindfulness can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better.

4. Be Active

Being active can help to enhance your mood and wellbeing by reducing stress, anxiety and increasing energy levels. Walks, jogs or cycles are a great way to clear your head and stay active. Glasgow walkit.com shows walking routes across the city. Bikemap.net shows bike routes through Glasgow.

Be Active  

Remember to observe social distancing guidance.

5. Connect

  • Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing.

Connect  

  • They can help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth, give you an opportunity to share positive experiences and provide emotional support and allow you to support others.

Support your mental wellbeing - other available support

Time for you

We have all been working hard during the last year and coping with the challenges it has brought.

In particular our frontline workers have continued to deliver critical services to our most vulnerable citizens during the pandemic - even though life has not been normal for any of us.

Looking after your own mental wellbeing is really important and even as restrictions begin to lift, we know that many of you are continuing to experience high levels of anxiety and stress - this is a normal reaction.

Support

'Time for You' is a new online and virtual mental health support service being provided by SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University and (LLTTF) Living Life to the Full.

It provides free mental health and wellbeing support to all frontline workers across Scotland.

There are three different levels available to you - ranging from self-help, one to one support and also virtual therapy support.       

There is also a Wellbeing Assessment Tool that you can use to work out what level of symptoms you may be experiencing to help you access the right support for a chat.

Take 'time for you'

We encourage our frontline staff to visit the site and benefit from the support on offer.

So why not take some 'time for you' and make looking after your own health and mental wellbeing a priority. Visit www.samh.org.uk/timeforyou

If you need help right now

If you feel you are struggling and need to talk to someone urgently about how you are feeling - there are lots of places you can turn to for a confidential chat and advice. Visit our staff health and wellbeing help right now support page for more details.

    Smoking - key advice and support to help you stop

    Don't Wait to Stop Smoking 

    Smoking remains a leading cause of preventable diseases in Scotland.  The joint 'Don't wait' stop smoking campaign has been re-launched between Scotland's three largest health boards  - NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire, and NHS Lothian. 

    The campaign focuses on the harms smoking can cause and highlights the free NHS stop smoking services available to support those who are ready to 'stub the addiction.'

    If you are a smoker, stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy - and the health benefits start almost as soon as you stop.

    It's never too late to quit. Don't Wait; Let's do this!

    NHS help and support

    Find out more information and advice about how to quit smoking at nhsinfom.scot

    Find out how to get help from NHS Stop smoking advisors who can help you to stop smoking for good. Visit nhsinform.scot

    You can contact the NHS Quit You Way  service free, Monday to Friday,  9am to 5pm, or phone  0800 84 84 84

    Download the NHS Quit Smoking App

    You can also visit your local Community Pharmacy for free stop smoking support

    Support for staff

    View our Smoke Fee Policy on Connect at http://connect.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=24789&p=0

    Find useful help and guidance in our Health and Wellbeing Handbook on Connect at http://connect.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=55690&p=0

    Our Employee Assistance Provider, Workplace Options,  can provide a free Smoking Cessation Pack as well as access to free, confidential, independent advice and counselling support 24/7.  Phone Workplace Options on 0800 247 1100or visit  workplaceoptions.com

    Healthy eating at work  - discounted fruit and vegetables offer

    Firmbanana.com logo

    To encourage healthier eating as part of our Staff Health and Wellbeing Strategy, we are delighted to offer you the opportunity to order fresh fruit and vegetables at discounted price for direct delivery to your home or place of work.

    We have joined forces with Firm Banana, a local family-run business with over 30 years of trading within City Markets.

    As a Glasgow City Council employee, you can benefit from:

    • 10% discount on all online fruit and vegetable orders
    • Free next day delivery to your office or home
    • Build your box! Pick from a wide selection of great quality fresh fruit and vegetables
    • Receive exactly what you and your team want - avoiding unnecessary food waste

    How to Order

    Ordering is simple via: https://www.firmbanana.com/discount/GCC

    Alternatively you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the Council's Farmer's Markets. Or visit the Glasgow Wholesale Market which sells fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and flowers at a fraction of the price you would pay in the shops. You'll find them off Junction 14 of the M8, 130 Blochairn Road, Glasgow, G21 2DU.

    Healthy eating and drinking - top tips

    People in garden with BBQ

    During the summer many of us enjoy a BBQ with friends and family. And the good news is that grilling food can be one of the healthiest ways to cook .

    Here are some tips on how you can achieve this perfect blend of tasty BBQ food and healthy eating:

    • Say goodbye to bad fat by picking the perfect protein such as fish and skinless chicken breast as it has less saturated fats.
    • Right size your portions which is about three ounces of any meat - the same size of a deck of cards.
    • Give it a soak or rub by marinating your meat while still using less salt. Don't drown your grilled food in salty sauces, sugary condiments or heavy dressings. Sometimes, a simple squeeze of lemon or lime is all it needs.
    • Add colour - grill your favourite fruits and vegetables. Cut them into pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. Brush with a healthy oil to prevent sticking or use a grill basket to keep them out of the line of fire.
    • Choose healthier sides - make your buns whole grain and grill fruits for desserts.

    More information on healthy eating

    Drinking healthily - know the limits

    No to more wine

    Remember the guidelines around alcohol - you should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, and consumption should be spread evenly across three or four days.

    If you are worried about your own, or someone else's, drinking there is support:

    Don't let lung cancer make itself at home - how to get checked early

    Lung Cancer

    The Scottish Government have launched a bold new lung cancer campaign called 'Settling In'

    The national campaign has been designed to encourage people aged 40+ to contact their GP practice without delay if they have potential lung cancer symptoms, highlighting that the sooner it is found, the easier it is to treat.

    You can view the TV advert here

    So don't let lung cancer make itself at home.

    If you have unusual breathlessness or a new or different persistent cough for more than three weeks, get checked, especially if you're over 40. These symptoms can be an early sign of lung cancer, so don't delay contacting your GP practice.

    While it's probably nothing to worry about, it's worth getting checked as the sooner lung cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.

    Find out more at www.getcheckedearly.org

    Parent Club - key support for parents and carers

    Boosting Family Wellbeing

    Boosting Family Wellbeing

    The Scottish Government have this month (August 2021)  launched theParent Club 'Boosting Family Wellbeing' campaign.

    The campaign provides tips and supports parents to introduce positive interactions with their children into their daily routine.

    The past 18 months have been extremely difficult for families and have caused serious disruption to family life. Different households face different challenges - but one thing everyone has in common is their mental health, and the importance of looking after it.

    'Boosting Family Wellbeing' will familiarise parents with principles that build children's happiness, confidence and independence - things like empowerment, safety, choice, working together and trustworthiness.

    The campaign will also give parents guidance and tips for weaving these principles into everyday moments, helping them to foster confidence and sense of responsibility in their children.

    Try sitting down with your child each day for a little uninterrupted time together. Watch them, notice what they are doing and let them know you are interested. This will help them see that their interests and needs are important.

    More information

    Support from Workplace Options

    Remember that Workplace Options, your Employee Assistance Provider, is always there for you and can help you with the things that matter most to you and your family.

    Parents Club  

    Wellbeing for wee ones - It has been a particularly tough time for everyone over the last year, whether you are a new parent or one with a growing family. Either way, it can be difficult to know whether you're doing the best thing for your baby.

    That's why we've partnered with Parent Club to tell you about their Wellbeing for Wee Ones campaign which aims to reassure parents that from day one simple things like singing and chatting help their babies feel happy, loved, and emotionally supported, now and into the future.

    You are not just helping your wee one feel happy and loved. You're also boosting their social and emotional wellbeing.

    The Parent Club 'Wellbeing for Wee Ones' campaign hub provides expert advice on easy ways for caregivers to support their baby's brain development and emotional wellbeing as part of everyday activities, like:

    • read or tell your little one a story
    • smile at your baby while keeping eye contact
    • have fun making silly noises.

    To find out more about the Wellbeing for Wee Ones campaign and how it can help you support your wee one's emotional and social health, visit Parent Club Wellbeing . It also includes expert advice on easy ways to help your baby's brain grow through everyday activities.

    Winter Support Campaign - With the winter lockdown restrictions in place, we know that parents are struggling at this time.

    A range of information, advice and support is available this month in the new Winter Lockdown Support Hub - including practical advice on home schooling, childcare support, and shared parenting.

    Family suffering with latest lockdown   

    Ongoing support for families during the pandemic is also available at the Coronavirus Support Hub.

    Positive Parenting 

    Get tips on coping with the challenges of being a parent and keeping calm with your wee one so you can focus on building a rewarding relationship together. If you feel you're getting frustrated and losing patience, there are ways to calm things down.

    • Find our more here
    • View the 'Kicking Off' 40 second film on youtube
    • View the 'Stressful Day' 40 second film on youtube

    Teen Mental Health   

    These are tough times, and we're all doing our best to get through them. It's only natural if you're finding it's taking a toll on you and your family's mental health. In particular, teens could be finding things difficult at the moment. They may be finding it hard to adapt to new restrictions and may be worried that they're missing out on this time in their lives.

    For a little extra support to help you and your family get through this, check out the Parent Club Hub for support for looking after yourself and your family.

    • Find out what support is available here
    • Find support to cope with lockdown parenting here

    Adjusting to life after lockdown - It continues to be a really challenging time for many families as they start to re-adjust to life after lockdown. If you are the parent or carer of a child or young person, you may already be preparing for the next big change with the re-opening of schools and early learning and childcare facilities.

    Your child's school, nursery or childcare establishment will provide much of the information you need to support your child's successful return and transition. 

    Additional support is available from:

    • Parent Club Scotland provides the latest Scottish Government information and advice to support parents and carers including
    • FAQ's about returning to school and work and mental health advice and support including new Mental health support for new mums.
    • Education Scotland's 'Back to School' special edition newsletter for parents and carers is packed with information and advice to support children's and young people's return to school this month.                                                                                                                                                    
    • Young Minds have prepared key tips for parents and carers on supporting their child's transition back to school life after lockdown.

    Support your eye health - top tips when working in the office or at home

    Eye health

    Increased screen time has become a part of everyday life in this digital age, even more so during the pandemic as many of us are working from home and attending 'virtual' meetings.

    Long spells of screen time can lead to tired eyes and discomfort. Here's our top tips to help avoid this:

    • Adjust your screen - make sure that the top of your screen is at eye level and that you are sitting roughly an arm's length away. Avoid glare and reflections on the screen from bright lights or directly facing windows.
    • Follow the '20-20-20 rule' - every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away (6 meters) for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes time to rest and refocus.
    • Move your screen in the afternoon - by pushing your screen forward or back by 1 inch it requires the eye to refocus, relieving eye strain.
    • Take regular breaks - at least five minutes every hour of continuous screen use. Avoid looking at another digital screen and try other tasks such as making a phone call.
    • Replenish the moisture in your eyes - keep your body well hydrated and blink more often as this moistens and refresh the eyes. You can also try using eye drops (artificial tears) or increase the humidity in the room with a humidifier. A cup of water in the room will also add moisture to the atmosphere.
    • Get your eyes tested regularly - even if you don't think you have a problem with your vision, the NHS recommends that adults have an eye test every two years - not only to check your vision, but also the health of our eyes. Eye tests are free in Scotland to those ordinarily resident in the UK or exempt from NHS charges.

    More information:

    Health Plan - help for you and your family to cover everyday health care costs

    HSF Logo

    As a council employee, you have access to fantastic health benefits along with discounted shopping by taking out an HSF health plan policy.

    HSF Health Plan is a health cash plan provider, committed to delivering simple and affordable ways to help you cover the cost of everyday healthcare such as dental, optical and physiotherapy, plus much more!

    How does it work? It's simple. You pay a premium for the scheme that suits you best, then you claim cash back for your treatments as and when you need it. Not only that, but your spouse / partner and children (up to age of 18, as long as they reside at the same address) are covered at no extra cost.

    More information

    Watch this video to find out more about the HSF Health Plan: https://vimeo.com/531237729/108c5de30f or visit Connect to find out more.

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