Liz Smith has backed “valuable” mental health measures that have been launched to help Perth and Kinross ambulance staff during the pandemic.
The Scottish Conservative Parliamentary candidate for the Perthshire South and Kinross-shire constituency feels the range of support, which includes a wellbeing blog, yoga sessions, apps to promote wellbeing and mindfulness sessions, underline the depth of support available in the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Data revealed in a Freedom of Information request shows that 634 working hours were lost by ambulance staff in Perth and Kinross being off work due to either stress, anxiety or depression, between March 1, 2020 and February this year.
However, although Liz Smith recognises this is a “worrying” statistic, she acknowledged the mental health support rolled out for ambulance staff in Perth and Kinross, and across the country.
Commenting, she said: “The support for ambulance crews who are suffering from mental health issues has to be welcomed. This last year has been unprecedented for almost all of us, so it is not surprising to find out that some ambulance crews suffered from issues such as stress, anxiety and depression during the pandemic.
“I am very impressed by the effort and measures taken by the Scottish Ambulance Service to offer help and support to any employees who have struggled with mental health during Covid. This kind of support is so valuable, and it is good to see they have embraced modern programmes such as mindfulness, yoga sessions, wellbeing sessions, links to useful websites as well as providing psychological ‘first aid.’”
Liz Smith continued: “I was also delighted to hear that the Scottish Ambulance Service is utilising drama-based methods to help staff with mental health problems and pleased to know that they have started to identify health and wellbeing provision through meetings with Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.”