MY name is Mandy Cairns and I am a Student Mental Health nurse. Whilst being on placement with one of the Community Psychiatric Nurses I was introduced to Support in Mind Scotland's Gatehouse drop-in centre in Golspie.

I quickly become fond of the place and developed therapeutic relationships with the people attending the centre and worked well with the members of staff. It was in my holidays that I volunteered to help out on the two days the centre was open.

“Good mental wellbeing is important for our physical health
  • Student mental health nurse Mandy Cairns

During my time volunteering with Support in Mind Scotland I was given the opportunity to deliver a talk to those who attended the centre.

Talks were delivered on a continuous basis as part of an initiative to provide education, whilst allowing the service users to feel valued and become familiar with routine. I was able to select a topic in which I would engage with the service users with the time allocation of one hour.

I was in to my third week at the centre and I wanted to make sure I delivered a talk which was both interesting and appropriate.  I decided to use around 20 minutes to outline the key themes of my discussion and to provide giving an overview of the selected topic; I was also eager to engage with everyone in the group and ideally get everyone to participate.

Once I had considered all of the above I concluded that I would select ‘Mental Wellbeing’ as my topic. I am off the opinion that whilst it is of paramount importance to achieve the correct treatment for any type of mental illness, we as individuals must consider our mental wellbeing.

Mental wellbeing refers to our mental state which makes reference to how we feel and cope with situations on a daily basis. With this considered it is important to state that evidence shows good mental wellbeing is important for our physical health.

I opened up my talk mentioning all of the above then swiftly engaged with my group. I wanted to see what mental wellbeing meant to them and what they considered factors of which they needed in life in order to achieve good mental wellbeing.

I opened these questions up to the group and drew out a spider diagram on the board. I was overwhelmed with the response rate I achieved from the group and was enlightened in to how much everyone in the group confidently made suggestions.

I explained the five steps provided by the NHS in which we can take to improve our mental wellbeing which are provided to make us feel happier, more positive and able to achieve the most out of our lives.

These are the following; Connect, Be active, Keep learning, Give to others and Be mindful. Everyone in the group found these steps both insightful and intriguing. We discussed this openly then I moved on to a short conclusion then opened up to questions.

I entirely believe that if we concentrate on mental wellbeing as something that we have and not something that we are, we can work on these five steps and gradually make a positive change in our lives.

Being happy is centred at the heart of this but it is not the whole. If we are able to achieve confidence in who we are then our self-esteem will be reinforced, we will then judge ourselves on a completely realistic basis whilst being engaged with our surroundings and the world in which we exist, creating and maintaining relationships which will allow a sense of contribution to society today.