"Our mental health affects the way we think, feel and behave. A mental health problem can feel just as bad, or worse, than any other illness" - SAMH website - www.samh.org.uk
I believe one of the biggest health challenges we currently face in the modern world is also still one of the least talked about and perhaps still thought of as a taboo subject.
Great work has been undertaken in recent years in raising awareness of mental health and the importance of sufferers talking and seeking help but there's still a long way to go before mental health is taken as seriously as a physical health problem.
I, like many others, face challenges each day, week, month and year with coping with my thoughts in everyday family and business life.
On the days that don't go well for me, it affects my mood, my thoughts and my actions. There have been a few serious low points for me over the years but thankfully I have found and invested in methods and tactics that help me cope.
From meditating, journalling, joining groups, to paper exercises such as asking myself a series of questions about my thoughts I have been able to help ease any major issues I could have had.
One of those methods of coping is running - I have found changing my physical state either with running or a brisk walk to be one of my best tactics to help my mind and thoughts.
Unfortunately there are many people affected by mental health - many people in everyday walks of life who from an outside perspective seem happy, seem successful and seem contented with life.
But on the inside they are not coping with their thoughts. They are in a dark place inside and don't know what to do to help ease their troublesome thoughts.
In recent years there has been an increase in awareness regarding mental health but there is a long way to go before, not only at public level but also at government level, mental health issues are deemed as important as a physical health issue.
This year as part of my Stirling Marathon 26.2 mile challenge I would like to raise awareness and would welcome your support in donating to help the Scottish Association of Mental Health and the work they do to help and care for those affected by mental health.
Please consider donating at www.scottmclean.charity
Thank you for your Support
The village of Cambusbarron, Stirling remembered today all those that fell during the Great War.
For my generation World War 1 feels such a long time ago, with World War 2 feeling closer to our time as that war is more associated with being around the birth of our parents and the stories they could pass on to us.
Unless you go deep into studying the history of WW1 I don't think we truly can appreciate the atrocities that our grandfathers and great grandfathers went through in that conflict.
Like many millions throughout the world, today my family and I took time to remember and pay our respects to the millions that fell and who sacrificed to allow many future generations hope and opportunity.
A massive thank you to all our team plus friends, family, suppliers, delivery drivers and our postman who all donated towards the Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee morning recently held at our Stirling Electrical/Alarms office.
Later this week myself and fellow electrical colleagues will attend the Scottish Parliament.
On Thursday 25th October just after First Ministers Questions a debate brought forward by MSP Jamie Halcro Johnstone will take place to support the Regulation of Electricians as a Profession.
I have mentioned on this blog previously about an ongoing campaign by electrical trade association SELECT to bring legal status to electricians as a 'Profession' - similarly like Gas engineers, essentially making it mandatory that those that carry out electrical work in Scotland be fully trained and have up to date qualifications to carry out such work.
Currently anyone with no training or qualifications can carry out electrical work and legally at the moment there is nothing stopping them carry out such work, if this work is carried out by someone with no formal electrical training or past qualifications that have no or little relevance to the latest electrical regulations then the work could cause harm to property and put lives at risk. Presently the homeowner or business property owner has no mandatory regulated formal way of checking the qualifications of the person carrying out the work.
The parliament Motion calls for support in regulating the electrical industry where only those with up to date and ongoing electrical training and qualifications can carry out electrical work within Scotland and for a mandatory regulated register of qualified electricians/companies. Failure to do so and still carry out electrical work would then be illegal - similar to Gas work.
The campaign by the hard working group at SELECT has gathered pace and now has the support of other electrical organisations and trade unions and will now have a voice at this parliament debate.
I have today written to my local MSP highlighting this campaign and parliament debate and will update with more news later in the week after the debate on Thursday.
In the meantime if anyone has any questions or queries about why the Regulation of Electricians as a Profession is important please ask in the comment section below or in a reply to my social media posts.
90 days ago as part of one of my 'Fun' goals to achieve in this quarter I said I wanted to have a go at Ice Skating.
Not once before had I tried it in my life.
Today I hit my target.
But after the first 10 minutes on the ice I was tapping out.
I couldn't move forward, I couldn't move away from holding onto the side.
I was finished.
After standing at the side for a few minutes and after a good few deep breaths I quickly threw that 'finished' story out of my head.
Back on the ice, I was re-focussed.
What I hadn't realised before was that I had about a hundred teachers all around me.
I stood and watched, I took in how they moved on the ice, how they balanced.
I stood and watched how they flicked their feet and the motions they made.
Ok, lets go again then I said to myself.
Slowly and uneasily...I managed to move forward and I moved away from the side.
Around and around the rink I went.
I stopped at times, I rested, I looked at others again to learn more.
I was now moving faster, I was feeling more comfortable - it also helped that I had tightened my boots.
Around and around the rink I went......thud.
The more comfortable I felt with the level I was at the faster I pushed myself.
But this created a new challenge - it was now time to fall down.
As my confidence grew, I wanted to expand, I wanted to move faster, I wanted to be more graceful.
But that brings with it new challenges.
Thud, Thud, Thud....it's bloody sore falling on hard ice, that's something else I've learned as well today.
90 minutes later, sweating (how can that be in an ice rink) I was skating and still falling over but where I had came from to where I was now in the space of 90 minutes was massive.
From, wanting to quit after 10 minutes, to simply changing the story in my head that ice skating was too difficult and I couldnt do it, to watching and learning from others around me.
From falling down, bruised and sore, I got back up and tried and tried again.
Dancing on Ice is a long way off, infact skating for more than 2 minutes without falling on my arse will still take many more hours to achieve.
But funny how the above is just like all the things we achieve in life.
From fear and dread to begin with, to taking small steps, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes to eventual improvement and success as long as we persevere and put in the hard work.
I dread to think what my next 90 day 'fun' goal will be.
My new podcast is now available where I will discuss business, fitness and family.
Hopefully I will provide some words of wisdom along the way.
The podcast is available to listen and subscribe to on a host of popular platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Full details are on my new podcast page.
It is Scottish Apprenticeship week and at Stirling Electrical Services we are pleased to offer our support and commitment to employing and training apprentices.
Every one of our existing skilled team members are either currently an electrical apprentice or our qualified electricians including myself have all progressed to full electrician status via the recognised electrical apprenticeship scheme in Scotland organised by SECTT.
The value of apprenticeships should never be underestimated and in my opinion apprenticeships should be more widely encouraged within secondary education.
Each one of our electrical apprentices have to train for at least 4 years combining college theory and practical learning work as well as gaining on-site experience working alongside our qualified electricians.
I fully support the drive this week to increase awareness highlighting the important role that apprentices can play within businesses and the long term benefits they can bring.
Right from the very beginning of Stirling Electrical Services in 1996 I have always been keen to employ apprentices within the business.
So during this important Scottish Apprenticeship Week I am pleased that we have made a double Apprentice commitment.
Firstly we have this week employed a 3rd year electrical apprentice who unfortunately was made redundant at his previous company in late 2017.
Qualifying as an electrician after 4 years of apprentice training can set people on the road to a rewarding career and with 3 years apprenticeship training under his belt it was important to take this apprentice under our wing and help him train and study over the coming months to allow him to prepare for his final electrical exam.
Secondly we are also committing to employing a new 1st year electrical apprentice during the Autumn college intake with a commitment to employ them for the duration of their 4 year apprenticeship training. We will announce more details around May this year regarding how people can apply.
Apprenticeships are crucial for the electrical industry, fast track electrical training courses are a waste of space and I would argue even dangerous for the electrical industry.
For those that are considering an apprenticeship especially in the skilled trades then don't let anyone including school careers advice put you off from becoming an apprentice. If you turn up with an attitude to put in the hard work and commit to learning your trade then an apprenticeship can be a worthwhile long-term career move.
It should be rather embarrassing for an electrical business to be plunged into darkness but like tens of thousands of other businesses across Scotland we have been closed and left in the dark for the past few days due to the heavy snow.
With snow falling and the unprecedented red weather snow warning looming we took the decision to close last Wednesday at 14.30 and as the snow continued to fall and aided by the windy conditions the roads deteriorated quickly so for safety reasons travelling was a no go meaning we were also closed on Thursday and Friday.
I can't remember another time in nearly 25 years of business that we have had to totally close for a full working day but the safety and wellbeing of our team members comes first.
Some of our team have been out and about this weekend clearing snow from our office car park and we plan to flick the ON switch on Monday and have our services operate near to normal as possible.
We had to cancel many jobs last week and will review our job schedule over the coming days and look to reschedule those cancelled jobs as soon as we can.
It has been a frustrating past few days for us all whether in business or parents having to make alternative plans due to schools being closed and I ask that our customers show us a little patience over the coming week as we look to turn the lights back up to full brightness as soon as possible.
Below some photos of our office snow clearing work.
A brave and inspirational watch as Stephen Fry describes in his own unique way his battle against prostate cancer.
A message for us all not to ignore any signs and also for regular check ups.
Encouraged to hear that his recovery is going well.
Video from www.stephenfry.com
More information at Prostate Cancer UK
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