St. Angela’s College recognise the importance of the health and wellbeing of our staff and students. We acknowledge that it is by feeling good physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that a person’s contribution to their workplace is at its best. Areas we intend to focus on will include mental health, managing conflict, physical activity and healthy eating, women’s health and men’s health.
Mental health is “how a person thinks, feels or acts when faced with life’s situations.”
Difficulties which can affect positive mental health include:
• Anxiety/Panic Disorders
• Bipolar Disorder
|Symptoms of Stress||Symptoms of Anxiety/Panic Disorders||Symptoms of Depression||Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder|
|Increased heart rate||Palpitations||Feeling of sadness/hopelessness||Mood Swings:
Low: intense depression/despair (see Symptoms of Depression)
High: feeling of elation - impaired judgement,
too much energy, too little sleep, irritability
|Fatigue/tiredness||Rapid breathing||Difficulty with daily activities|
|Loss of sleep||Feeling of panic||Difficulty concentrating|
|Sickness||Sweating||Changes in sleeping|
|Feeling faint||Excessive or undue worry||Changes in eating patterns|
|Raised blood pressure||Disturbed sleep||Loss of interest in activities which one you loved
|Reduced concentration||Morbid thoughts or fear of going mad|
Taking Care of Mental Health:
Everyone needs a certain amount of pressure to motivate us to do our job well but when the pressure starts to become excessive, we may feel we cannot cope.
To ensure that one maintains positive mental health and wellbeing, one should –
- Manage your workload
- Set priorities and develop clear, achievable goals
- Manage your time
- Define problems precisely
- Develop good communication with colleagues
- Recognise your own value and worth
- Take regular breaks
- Ask for advice
- Provide good working conditions
- Ensure regular appraisal on performance
- St. Angela’s College’s Mental Health policy is accessible on the College Staff Portal.
- Don’t worry - recognising that you may be vulnerable to mental health issues is always the first step. It is essential to be proactive and nip any issues in the bud as early as they arrive!
- If you or someone close to you is dealing with a mental illness, it is important to ensure that they realise that they do not have to deal with it alone.
- Keeping yourself informed and visiting websites which will provide information on hope to cope with mental health difficulties is very important.
Some helpful websites are:
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
A drug is “a substance that alters the way in which the body and mind works.”
Drug abuse is “the overindulgence in, and dependence upon, a psychoactive drug leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s physical or mental health, or the welfare of others.”
Health risk attached to the use of drugs include:
• Increased risk of developing cancers
• Depression or other mental health problems
• Brain damage
• Vascular disease
Social risks attached to the use of drugs include:
• Financial difficulties
• Effects on family, friends and wider community
Drinking heavily persistently can lead to a range of social, psychological and medical problems which may include:
• Changes in behaviour
• Cancer of the mouth
• High blood pressure
• Cardiac arrests
Signs of Drug Abuse:
|Bloodshot eyes/pupils larger or smaller than usual||Absenteeism/fall in performance||Unexplained change in personality or attitude|
|Changes in appetite/sleep patterns||Financial problems||Sudden mood swings/irritability/angry outbursts|
|Deterioration in physical appearance||Engaging in secretive/suspicious behaviour||Periods of unusual hyperactivity/agitation/giddiness|
|Unusual smells on breath/body/clothing||Change in friends/hobbies||Lack of motivation/lethargic|
|Tremors/slurred speech||Getting into trouble (fights/accidents/illegal activities||Appears fearful/anxious/paranoid with no reason|
Signs of Alcohol Abuse:
- Repeatedly neglecting responsibilities at home/work. For example, performing poorly at work, neglecting children, skipping out of commitments because of being hung-over.
- Using alcohol in situations where it’s physically dangerous. For example, drinking and driving or mixing alcohol with prescription medication against doctor’s orders.
- Getting into trouble with the law. For example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or drunk and disorderly conduct.
- Continuing to drink even though your alcohol use is causing problems in your relationships. For example, fighting with family because they dislike how you act when you drink.
What to do...
- If you witness a friend/co-worker drinking excessively or under the influence of drugs, intervene. This may involve a simple action such as calling a taxi to take the person home. Although this may seem intrusive, you might prevent the person’s immediate exposure to personal injury or a serious accident.
- Once the friend/co-worker is restored to full control, you might want to have a talk with him or her and give the person feedback on their behaviour.
- Offer support but do not assume the role of counsellor. Helping someone manage drug or alcohol abuse requires professional expertise. The journey to recovery may be a long road. Taking on too much responsibility may mean jeopardising a good friendship and imposing a serious burden for which you are not prepared.
- It may be necessary to express concerns to the individual’s line manager or human resource department.
- Try not to think of this as a betrayal, but as an indication of concern for your friend/co-worker’s welfare.
- St. Angela’s College’s Drug/Alcohol Abuse Policy is accessible on the College Staff Portal.
- Don’t worry - recognising that you or a friend/co-worker is vulnerable to drug/alcohol abuse or is dealing with addiction is always the first step.
- Being proactive, offering help or giving advice will let the individual know that they do not have to deal with the problem alone.
- Keeping yourself informed and visiting websites which will provide information on how to cope with drug/alcohol abuse is very important.
- Some helpful websites are:
Conflict is “the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests.”
When differences of opinion escalate into conflict – intervention is necessary immediately. Why? To prevent the development of an organisational culture which fosters negativity and bad industrial and employee relations.
Symptoms of conflict include:
• Motivation drops - little employee input at team meetings/fewer people volunteer for tasks
• Behaviour changes - derogatory remarks towards each other/fewer social events organised
• Productivity falls - complaints when people are not cooperating with each other
• Sickness absence increases - unhappiness may lead to depression or stress
- Bring issues out into the open before they become problems.
- Be aware of triggers, and respond to them when you first notice them.
- Have a process for resolving conflicts – bring up the subject at a meeting and get agreement on what people should do in cases of differing viewpoints.
- It is important that everyone understands the College’s goals and expectations, including what’s expected of each individual.
- Recognise and praise accomplishment. When employees fell valued and appreciated for the work they do, fights and disagreements are less likely.
- Discourage gossip and don’t put people in the position of spying on each other.
- Strive to build relationships with others that are non-judgemental, understanding and open.
Responding to Conflict:
|Fight||Reacting in a challenging way. This may mean shouting or losing your temper at work.|
|Flight||Turning your back on what’s going on. This is a common reaction – by ignoring a problem you hope it will go away.|
|Freeze||You are unsure how to react and become passive. You may begin to deal with the issue but things drift or become drawn out because of indecision.|
|Face it||Approaching a problem in a calm and rational way with a planned approach.|
Eating Healthy and Physical Activity
Health eating and regular exercise are important factors which contribute to the overall wellbeing of the individual.
One’s body is like a well oiled machine.
If one puts good products into it, it will run and operate well:
- Boosting energy levels
- Improving bodily functions
- Improving the immune system
Ireland is now one of the leading nations with growing obesity levels. Obesity is an epidemic which is triggered by an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. This problem may pose many health risks to the individual:
|Breathlessness||High blood pressure (hypertension)||Low self esteem|
|Increased sweating||High cholesterol levels (fatty deposits blocking up your arteries)||Poor self-image (not liking how you look)|
|Snoring||Type 2 diabetes (a long-term condition caused by too much glucose in the blood)
||Low confidence levels|
|Difficulty sleeping||Feeling isolated in society|
|Inability to cope with sudden physical activity||Reduced mobility leading to a poor quality of life
|Feeling tired every day|
|Back and joint pains|
Healthy Eating Guidelines
- Eat a wide variety of different foods as there is no one food that will provide all the nutrients we need
- Try to be less generous with the size of portion you serve up
- Eat slowly so your brain gets the message when your stomach is full
- Choose low fat and low sugar options when available
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables - aim for 5 portions a day
- Eat only when you are hungry
- Try to limit your use of salt
- Never go food shopping when you are hungry
- Try not to regularly buy foods you find hard to resist
- Drink plenty of fluids - 2 litres of water each day
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for the wellbeing of the individual.
Dignity at Work
St. Angela’s College’s Dignity at Work Policy is accessible on the College Staff Portal.
Below is a list of designated persons who you can make contact with if you have any grievances regarding your dignity at work.
St. Angela’s College Mission Statement outlines a commitment to the values of justice, equality, dignity and respect for all persons.
Every employee, student, visitor and business associate has the right to feel that they are valued and that their dignity is both recognised and respected. The responsibility lies on each and every one of us to promote this environment of respect and should you feel that your dignity has been violated – speak to any of the named people in strict confidence for guidance.