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A Students Perspective on Lockdown

Recently we had the pleasure of working with Aberdeen University Student Greig Rennie. Greig helped support the company with many tasks including marketing, PR and administrative duties. 

Greig certainly used a lot of out the box thinking for his placement with us and produced some great pieces of work, some of which have helped us tremendously and we will continue to use and benefit from in the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some of Greig’s pieces really hit the nail on the head when it came to showing casing our services, simplicity sometimes really is more impactful than we tend to give it credit for.

One of my favourite pieces is Grieg’s perspective on lockdown article, I wanted to publish this as soon as I received it, not only is it great to see another persons view on Covid-19 but it also really opened my eyes into thinking no matter how much I think and attempt to put myself in someone else’s shoes it really does not give the true perspective I think I can gauge.

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to personally thank Greig for his contribution to OSI and also the time, effort and his friendly, engaging approach to this placement, Thank you Greig and all the best for your upcoming assessments.

Below is Greig’s, “A Students Perspective on Lockdown” article, we hope you enjoy it.

A Students Perspective on Lockdown

I remember way back in February having a conversation with a classmate and a lecturer about the increasing risk of the virus. I took a rather nonchalant attitude towards it, thinking that it would be handled and that the risk was rather low, oh how very wrong I was.

When things started getting really serious in the UK, like many others I began to feel anxious, scared and concerned of the potential isolation I would feel. Being separated from my friends and family was something I had experienced before when I studied abroad. I spent 4 months in Oklahoma and was lucky enough to get one visit from my parents but spending such a large amount of time away from my sister, grandparents, and friends was a tough one to take especially seeing as this one was not through choice. 

As the lockdown began, I tried to stay positive and optimistic; I was playing Xbox with my friends a lot more, had more time to play my guitars or do other things that enjoyed. These feelings gave way fairly quickly. The isolation of the situation set in and I began feeling lonely and a bit lost, but I kept going and kept pushing through until it came time to go back to university. 

Obviously, things were very different with everything being remote forcing me to work form home. I was genuinely excited to start up again, looking forward to my classes and interacting with friends again, looking back now I didn’t realise how difficult the challenge of self-motivation would be. As a person I work best when I can bounce off other people and see where everyone else is at. Without these kinds of interactions that normally occur when you physically go to uni I found it really hard to adapt. Although my workload wasn’t as large as it had been in the past, I was constantly feeling the pressure, as if I was behind on all my work and anything, I handed in was below par. 

This took its toll on me mentally; I would start to feel stressed and anxious about my work so I would take a break and stop working to recharge, but this just made me stressed and anxious as well. This started a rather difficult cycle that was very hard to break. I ended up doing way less work than I should’ve and only really working when I got a burst of sporadic motivation at any random day or hour. I really wanted to break this cycle, with it really beginning to take its toll I looked for a solution, this was found in the form of a gym membership. Getting back into the gym was so important for me, not only was the daily exercise helping to keep both my mental and physical health intact it helped me stick to a routine. I was up every day at 9:30, eating breakfast then off to the gym, I would get home then do my work for the day. I helped keep me centred and focused on what I had to do and gave me a massive shot of adrenaline that really kept me going through the semester. 

The coronavirus has undoubtably had a massive effect on my life and it’s something I’ll remember till I’m old and grey. It took a great toll on me personally and I am so thankful that I have such supportive and caring friends and family that helped me get through it.

Greig Rennie.

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OSI are delighted to be providing Step Change in Safety with a second programme of Mental Health Courses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omniscient Safety innovations Ltd is delighted to announce that they will continue to provide Step Change in Safety mental health awareness for energy workers into next year after discussions and feedback from Steve Rae and the team.

Steve Ray, executive director of Step Change in Safety, said: “Like most, if not all businesees, we had to respond swiftly and effectively in our service delivery as a result of COVID-19. In particular our mental health awareness course needed to move from the classroom to the virtual space which required a total re-think in our approach.

“Thankfully we were able to respond swiftly once we made contact with Brett Townsley and his team at Omniscient Safety Innovations Ltd. In a matter of weeks we had development and launched our first energy tailored mental health first aid awareness course and have since held five through the second half of this year. The feedback has been excellent with many commenting on Brett’s ability to engage with them on what can be a difficult range of topics for many.

“Such was the success of the course that we have scheduled a second program of courses that will run through 2021. OSI’s ability to tailor and deliver our energy MHFW course, with a high level of attendee satisfaction, was a key component of us committing to our 2nd program.”

Omniscient Safety Innovations Ltd, who were recently double award winners at the OGUK awards, are continuing to deliver innovative solutions for mental health throughout the UK and in many industries including maritime, education and the energy sector.

Sarah Townsley, UK projects and training director, said: “We are delighted to provide a second program for SCIS and the energy sector, the feedback from programme one has been fantastic and we remain committed to innovation, great service and real solutions for mental health in the workplace. We have renewed belief that after an exceptionally difficult year preventative solutions for mental health will become a top priority for many businesses.”

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Omniscient Safety Innovations double win at OGUK’s Awards 2020

Industry unites to celebrate best and brightest amid challenging year

The winners of OGUK’s Awards 2020 were honoured in virtual style this evening as industry came together to watch the ceremony digitally for the first time ever.

The night was the highlight of industry’s cultural calendar, with hundreds of people attending the event through Youtube, LinkedIn and Facebook live and the prestigious first-time Audience Award receiving over 19,000 votes.

A total of 27 finalists, from more than 90 entrants, contended for the ten awards presented at the event. 

Omniscient Safety Innovations was awarded Business Innovation – SME of the Year and Audience Award. 

The team at OSI said:

The team at Oil & Gas UK did an incredible job with a fantastic event in the current circumstances. Thank you Deirdre Michie OBE for her brilliant hosting.

Huge thanks once again to the fantastic judging panel, the voters, all the amazing finalists and both teams at Omniscient Safety Innovations Ltd & OGUK

It’s been a year like no other and our first real year in the business, we are so proud to be improving mental health within the industry and humbled that this has been recognised. To us this represents validation within the industry for systemic mental health solutions and real improvement

Commenting after the event, OGUK’s chief executive Deirdre Michie said:

“Congratulations to all our winners and finalists for their phenomenal achievements. It was an amazing event, with the offshore oil and gas industry coming together to celebrate its best and brightest in what has been one of the strongest headwinds our sector has ever had to face. 

“Although we could not be together in person, it is so important to highlight the progress our supply chain and businesses have made, and the continuous hard work of the people throughout our industry.

“The celebration is a super way to acknowledge great people, achievements and delivery, despite the current challenges we face.

“Looking to 2021, I believe the North Sea grit the people in our industry are known for will continue to help us move forward, with courage, co-operation and commitment.

“Thank you to everyone who participated, and to our members for their great support and the OGUK team for once again raising the bar to deliver such an excellent event that the whole industry can be proud of.”

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Q&A Session with Angie Meldrum on her struggles with Mental Health and Anxiety

Brett Townsley recently trained Angie on Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health, it was during this training Brett discovered how much of a struggle Angie has faced with her own mental health. Angie kindly agreed to a Q&A with us to share her experiences and help remove the stigma around mental health. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Angie, just a very everyday person. 

I live in a small village by the sea with my husband, two children and our crazy Staffy, Boomer. As you’d expect with two young boys, a daft dog and a husband who works offshore, I’m always kept busy. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to stay at home with our kids for the past eight years however now they’re both at school I have been able to focus more time on deciding what the next chapter holds for me. 

You underwent quite an experience can you explain?

Back in 2014 I became unwell, on my wedding day of all days, I missed the majority of our reception but from what I hear it was a pretty good time.

I spent the next four days in hospital (not exactly a fairytale start to married life).

What followed over the next few years was a rollercoaster of events including the birth of our second son, numerous stays in hospital and being told that in order to get better I would need to undergo surgery. 

It was manageable to begin with but over time my health only deteriorated and life with two young children and a husband working away became tough.

As if all of this wasn’t enough to cope with I experienced what would become a life changing event. 

Due to my condition I was always on some kind of medication but one day, out of the blue I suffered an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, which I had taken without complication for years. I didn’t know it at the time but that was the moment that mentally broke me. 

For sometime I had only one goal, to reach my surgery date, believing that this would mark the end of physically and mentally draining time of my life. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be the case.

What impacts did this leave you with?

After finally undergoing surgery I initially had to physically heal. What I hadn’t considered was the impact all of this had had on my mental wellbeing.

I became completely withdrawn from normal day to day life. Then all of a sudden I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my house, I couldn’t be the mum I once was, even taking my son to school was absolutely terrifying.

Everything terrified me. Panic attacks became a regular occurrence and I lived in my own little bubble where I saw everything as a threat. 

Until that point in my life I had never experienced anxiety, I didn’t know what it was, however it very quickly took over every aspect of my life in ways you believe. 

How has this experience shaped your mental health?

Before becoming unwell I had never suffered with any mental health struggles and I genuinely didn’t think I ever would. How wrong was I? One thing I have learned is that everyone can be affected by mental health struggles and anxiety.

In 2017, six weeks after my surgery, I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. The following couple of years I continued to struggle with severe anxiety despite counseling. This then led to a diagnosis of PTSD in 2019. Since then, with lots of time, patience and support I have learned to live with my anxiety and although it no longer completely controls my life, it has shaped it.

What has that experience taught you in terms of skills for mental health? 

My experience has taught me about compassion for myself and others and greater self awareness (of both my physical and mental health). 

Probably most importantly I learned to talk about my feelings, not only as a means of support to me but to help others understand the effect of mental health struggles. 

I now have a range of healthy coping skills to help me manage my anxiety, it is thanks to these that I can function in daily life.

To gain a greater understanding of Anxiety and PTSD I educated myself as much as possible and was inspired to pursue training in the FAA level 1 Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health.

Do you feel performance is affected by mental health issues? 

Yes, absolutely. From my own experience almost every aspect of my day to day life was affected. Before I experienced it first hand I wouldn’t have believed how much it could effect the smallest and easiest of tasks. 

Anxiety has a way of making you doubt yourself, what you’re capable of and prevents you from functioning as you once did. Whether that be the ability to concentrate, to sleep, or even to do things you’ve done umpteen times before-they can all easily become a struggle or even seem unmanageable.

The embarrassment and worry around this caused me to withdraw meaning that my performance as a mum, a wife and a friend was affected. 

You have begun building new skills in mental health, why? 

After my own experience I wanted to offer my support to people suffering with any Mental Health struggles.

At the beginning of the year I had started researching support groups local to me only to find out there weren’t any. I personally feel there is such a need for this, anyone going through a similar situation can relate to how you feel and you no longer feel you’re alone.

So I put the wheels in motion for opening a group only for things to be put on hold due to covid. 

In the meantime the need for mental health support was greater than ever so I created a social media page aimed at reducing the stigma around talking about mental health. I was overwhelmed by the response to my discussing my own daily anxiety hurdles and how this encouraged people to open up to me about their own issues.

I have recently qualified in FAA level 1 Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health.

I hope to complete the second part of this training soon as I would like to continue to support those who seek help. 

Talking about my own feelings, emotions and anxieties has been a huge benefit to me in my recovery and I want other to experience that benefit too. If telling my full story could help one person then I would tell it a million times over. 

To hear more on Angie’s story and anxiety blog follow this link https://www.instagram.com/p/B_QgEzxF3Cg/?igshid=at5go4ikvskp

 

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Steve Kirby sharing his story on the impacts of poor mental health

Q&A session between Sarah Townsley & Steve Kirby. 

You underwent a very traumatic experience can you explain a little further?

Physically I was very lucky. A few stitches in my head, hyper extended limbs and lots of bruising. It was my mental health that suffered massively after a hydro pressure test failed. Flash backs started that very same night. I would re-live the whole thing. The smell of water would again put me back there. My way to deal with it was to have a few beers to help me sleep.  This did not work and only made things worse.

How has this impacted your mental health?

I was the guy that didn’t believe depression was real. I used to think people used it as a excuse to stay off work but I was in a dark place, angry and agitated. I had no time for my kids or partner and would find my self crying and thinking it would be easier for them if I wasn’t here. My partner persuaded me to go see a doctor. I was told I was suffering with anxiety depression and PTSD. I was referred to a therapist who help me understand but when my quarter was up with the NHS I was told I had to take medication and try to put it behind me.

I was still lost in my mind and did not want medication.

What has the experience taught you in terms of skills for mental health?

I started studying the mind and human behaviour. Reading everything i could on anxiety depression and PTSD. Because of the experience I came across self hypnosis, cognitive behavioural therapy and Neuro linguistic programming. These skills helped me to see my accident from a different perspective. They helped me realise it was my thoughts that was causing me to feel the way I was feeling and I had full control of my thoughts.

You have begun building new skills in mental health why?  And how can you use these in the workplace?

I now use these skills to help people who are struggling with anxiety and depression,  confidence issues or addictions. I also visit sites and share my story. Helping to create a better understanding and awareness of wellbeing and mental health within the workplace.

Do you feel safety performance is affected by mental health issues?

I believe safety performance is definitely affected by mental health issues.  We had no training in hydro pressure testing. Looking back none of us wanted to lose our job. If I had of refused to do the work I would have been replaced with someone who was willing.  I have witnessed many guys over the years use machinery they have no training in or do a job they maybe should not be doing. But anxiety about losing your job puts pressures on people .

What kind of mental health prevention and support did you have within the organisation that you worked for during the accident?

My accident happened in 2011. I was absent from work for over six months and was offered no help with regard to mental health. I now totally understand mental health and the pressure we put on ourselves aswel as the pressures of home life and work.  I now use this to get companies talking. To put people first. To give people the opportunity to speak out. I believe more people are aware of mental health but as humans will struggle to reach out.  The more we can talk about the issues of mental health the more people will have a greater understanding.

OSI provide mental health solutions for the workplace, how do you feel this can benefit the workforce? 

The work Omniscient Safety does and the courses they offer to help with mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is essential. The training they offer can prevent companies putting people in situations like we found ourselves in.  Luckily I survived and the client did not have a fatality, but we was lucky. Many people are still killed at work, many more die from work related illness due to not using PPE correctly and many die of suicide due to mental health and pressures of work. Omniscient safety want to make a difference just as I do. If my story saves one life it is worth sharing.

Steve

Sk Lifecoach UK Ltd

Sarah Townsley OSI

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Kindness Unlocked Online Festival

Recently OSI became co-founders along with Abi Clarke AC Weddings and Events of Make Minds Matter non profit organisation. We set to work in organising a mental health festival to take part in September.

Unfortunately due to the pandemic this event had to be postponed but we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. Still keen to go ahead we have set to work in taking this event to an online function. Below you will find an article from the local paper with more details on our event.

If you would like to be involved in this online event please get in touch, makemindsmatteraberdeen@gmail.com

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/north-east-mental-health-and-wellbeing-event-to-run-online-next-month/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

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Apparent Leader Launch and Review


You may have heard that we recently launched our new course Apparent Leader with Andrew Burton.

We held a Pilot course and are extremely please with the feedback we received.

Below is a statement from Abi Clarke co founder of Make Minds Matter mental health group.  https://www.facebook.com/Make-Minds-Matter-104274267860626/

“In July, I was invited by Brett Townsley and Andrew Burton from Omniscient Safety Innovations Ltd to join the Apparent Leader pilot course which they are now offering.

With their combined expertise and knowledge, I gained some good tips and recommendations on my leadership behaviour as well as looking into core values and the importance of them being understood throughout the business and charity which I run.

This course gives you the opportunity to examine from a Mindful perspective how your leadership behaviours have been impacted by the dramatic changes in the business world in recent months.

I would highly recommend speaking with Brett Townsley to discuss further”.

Abi Clarke.

If you would like further information on this course please get in touch at info@omniscientsafetyinnovations.com

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Aberdeenshire Lockdown Tribute for The NHS

As many of you know OSI are extremely passionate when it comes to mental health, not so long ago we became co-founders of Make Minds Matter, non profit group along with Abi Clarke from AC Weddings and Events.

Over the lockdown period we have seen many communities coming together in support and appreciation. This included live facebook sessions of individuals sharing their talents to brighten others day.

Make Minds Matter wanted to use this space to create a video tribute to show our continued support for the hard work the NHS provide on a daily basis. Listening to the inspirational voices across Facebook we contacted a small group who couldn’t wait to get involved. The three young ladies worked extremely well together to make this happen, especially as this all had to be contributed to over zoom calls and text messages.

We also would like to take this opportunity to thank the singers, without their incredible support we could not of made this happen, so a massive thank you goes out to Jas Lamond Watt, Keirah Kirton & Mary Wilson, well done!!

We are overwhelmed by the amount of interest and views this has gained in such a short space of time and we really hope you enjoy this too.

Please click the link to view the video or read more from the press release by Press & Journal.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=307409730429632 

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/2291429/aberdeen-singers-collaborate-for-health-worker-tribute/?fbclid=IwAR1klcJZ1-55_I6YOJnDBd6NANrhF–yyNNRXngI-fIs6yWG8_Zc2ojLC3U

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Veteran Owned Business Continuing Their Commitment to The Armed Forces

At OSi we are very excited to announce that we have signed the Armed Forces Covenant as part of our company’s ongoing commitment to Armed Forces and their families.

The AFC is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or have served in the UK Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. We’re proud to recognise the value serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to our business.

We will continue to promote fair treatment for veterans both internally & externally, to improve employment opportunities for those leaving the services by:

  • On our social media platforms/posts we will highlight we are a veteran owned business
  • We have worked with Joint Force Alba recruitment and Aberdeen City Council on an initiative to promote veteran employment.
  • Displaying the Covenant logo on our website.
  • Armed Forces Day participation is a long standing commitment of ours by joining in the marches and promoting on all of our platforms.
  • We will always over 10% discounted rate off our courses to veterans or serving serviceman
  • For those in the reserve forces we would apply suitable flexibility to attend any training or deployments
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Kindness just a hashtag??

 

Encouraging as it is to see so many businesses and leaders posting about kindness towards each other for Mental Health Awareness Week. Should we not also see posts on how their business will apply this?

Do we not have a responsibility to apply corporate kindness to staff, customers and others? Corporate Kindness which is a key element of corporate values and ideals that shape how an organisation is perceived by employees, customers, and others.

Many successful companies adhere to a set of well defined core values and beliefs that align with behaviours rather than contravene them. In doing so they create a culture that promotes open, honest conversation in a conducive, creative environment where productivity and empowerment are defining characteristics and costs are reduced along with absenteeism, accident rates and work related stress.

All too often a business believes it has mindful core values or beliefs but the behaviours or structures do not support this and the impacts are felt from absenteeism, accident rates and work related stress to costs.

Is this the opportunity to take a mindful approach and get a business case for corporate kindness or is kindness just this weeks hashtag?

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