Mental Health Training

Lynda O’Malley

My name is Lynda O’ Malley and I have been a Health and Social Care Trainer since around 2005 and have worked in the care industry most of my adult life (a lady doesn’t tell her age, so no clues!)

Although I enjoy delivering all of the mandatory and development courses I train, I have to say my real passion is for Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid, SMHFA/YP and Suicide Prevention training. All of which I have delivered to many different groups from small community groups to large organisations. I am an ASIST and SafeTALK trainer and have recently been awarded my silver pin from Livingworks Education in recognition of my 50th ASIST course, which is something I am incredibly proud of, even more so now that the figure is now probably in the 70’s.

I’ve got the hang of this online training thing now and have been doing some training via Zoom and Teams and hope to continue to reach people across the country in this way.

I come from a small village called Chapelton in sunny Scotland and live with my husband Ross and my Patterdale Terrier, Jerry. I also have two grown up children, John and Sarah, who have both flown the nest, but come back regularly when they’re skint or need to be fed.

Living in a small village is lovely but it has on occasion brought its own problems.

My very first online training was Mental Health Awareness to a group of Young Farmers.

20 minutes in everything crashed, No internet, no phone signal, no electricity. I was very calm as you can imagine (not!)

When we did eventually manage to get power back on we discovered the issue had been caused by Big Ron the bull in a nearby field scratching his backside on a pole which held some sort of transformer and he had knocked it off resulting in no power for 3 surrounding villages for hours.

What are the chances? We resumed our training afterwards and Big Ron become something of a local celebrity, I think we can say we all got something out of that!

How have you taken care of your own mental health and wellbeing since the start of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic?

Well I have to say I think at the very start of this very strange and scary time we have found ourselves in with Covid 19 I, like a lot of people, thought it was something that would probably last a couple of weeks and used the time to catch up on all the things I had let slip since becoming self employed the previous year and putting all my energy into that.

So, my house was glistening like a new pin and my garden was looking great, however as time went on and the situation became more serious with hospitals filling up, deaths going into scary numbers and the cases rising massively by the day I started to become quite anxious. Suffering from depression albeit very well managed I became very aware of my thoughts and fears around this for both myself and others I care about.

All of a sudden the business I had worked so hard to build up was totally empty of bookings for the foreseeable future. My husband is also self employed so more worry and my daughter is a school teacher so was still having to go out to work and we really had no idea of how much risk she was at. My son lives in London and is a building contractor so he was also still working throughout.

I think what helped me through all of this was being able to have regular contact with my family and friends through Zoom and Whatsapp calls, which we did regularly. Sometimes just for chats but also enjoying some quiz nights with home made hat competitions and pub singer competitions included (there may have been some refreshments).

I also have the best neighbors anyone could ask for and I have to say one of the best things to come from all of this is how close we have become as time went on and we have been permitted some social contact and have spent many hours in the lovely sunshine in our gardens (again there may have been some refreshments). On the subject of gardens, my garden has been my haven throughout this and I am so grateful that I have this to enjoy.

I have also learned new skills such as how to deliver virtual training using Zoom and Teams and although I miss the face to face contact I have to say there are some positives to virtual training, saves a fortune on shoes and skirt/trousers although I am going through more slippers and joggers.

All in all I think I have learned to be more grateful for the things that are truly important in life. People, relationships, being kind to others and taking time to be kind to yourself.

How do you want to change the world?

I would get everyone a dog to love and every dog a person to love 💕💕

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