𝗔 𝗪𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗤&𝗔 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵: 𝗗𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗰 𝗟𝗮𝘆𝗱𝗲𝗻 -𝗔𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗖𝗘𝗢
Ireland has some terrific mental health organisations nationwide. Over the next couple of weeks, the Wellbeing Warrior will bring you a series of Wellbeing focused Q&A’s with some of the people who help run these brilliant organisations.
Today’s Q&A is with Dominic Layden, CEO of Aware Ireland.
Aware is an organisation close to my heart. I have had the privilege of volunteering with them for more than two years. Aware provides support & information for people who experience depression or bipolar disorder and their concerned loved ones. It was founded in 1985 by Dr. Patrick McKeon, as a response to the clear need for information, understanding and support, both for individuals who had a diagnosis of depression or bipolar as well as family members supporting a loved one. For more information on Aware please visit www.aware.ie
Dominic kindly took some time out of his busy schedule tell us about life as CEO of Aware and how he looks after his own personal wellbeing. If you would like to support Aware in continuing their wonderful work, please do so by visiting: www.aware.ie/donate.
DOMINIC LAYDEN - AWARE
1. What does a day in the life of a CEO of Aware look like?
A. Very varied, which is great. Most days I am very busy, intellectually challenged and stimulated. Most of my work has clearly defined outcomes so you can see what you have done and that gives me satisfaction. I really enjoy being part of the team here. We are a national organisation, but we have small team of 11 ft staff and 5 p/t staff and all the team are highly committed to our purpose so that adds an extra value to all our work. The purpose is everything and the team we have in Aware are highly skilled, motivated and a pleasure to work with. Of course, we have good days and sometimes some of our days is on work that is less satisfying but for the team and myself I think for 95% of our time it is very rewarding work.
2. Tell us about your organisation and what it does in the promotion of mental wellbeing.
A. We were established in 1985 and were set up to inform, educate and support people with Depression. Our services have evolved over the years and we provide a range of support services (Support Groups, a Support line open 365 days of the year and a support email service). In addition, we provide several adult CBT programmes delivered in groups and online. We also offer a wide range of Information services including online lectures/Webinars and Wellness talks to organisations and Schools.
3. As CEO of Aware, I can imagine you have a heavy work schedule, while at work do you have any wellbeing practices to support you in between all the emails, zoom meetings and phone calls.
A. I was trained many years ago to make a list of items to be done in a day/week and to prioritise and nearly 40 years later I am still practising that. I find that helps to put the day in context and of course many a day I get distracted and redirected but having a plan keeps me in control of my agenda and diary. I drink two coffees at work, eat a light lunch and get exercise during the day (most days). When I need a break from the desktop, I chat to a staff member.
4. It can be difficult for people supporting a loved one with mental health difficulties, would you have any specific tips or advice for those people in minding their own wellbeing while supporting others?
A. It can be difficult to help another person unless you are in a good space and Aware tries to help by having relevant information available so that individuals can be well informed and educated on the topics on Depression and other mood conditions if appropriate to the person you are caring for. Knowing the signs, spotting when someone is struggling and having a plan I think helps. You also need someone you can share your burden with, so you do not feel you alone and carry all the burden which is why we have our Relatives Programme to help those caring and minding for others.
5. If someone were to ask you for one piece of wellbeing advice, what might you say to them?
A. Try and be grateful for what you have now.
HI I JUST WANNA SAY I THINK ALBERT GIVES REALLY GOOD HUGS
NO WAIT OMG YOURE SO CORRECT AND IM GONNA TELL YOU WHY
so,,,,, i’m gonna start with the obvious one
a r m
he’s just cuddly in general but specifically h u g s and not cuddling/other forms of affection
if you’re shorter than him, he wraps his arms around your shoulders really tight and pulls you to his chest and like,,,,,, leans his head against yours???? or gives your forehead a lil smooch (pls i’m so soft i want a hug from this man so bad) OR honestly it’s not even a height thing this man would stand on a chair to hug someone like this if they needed a real hug
if you’re not really a hug person or he’s saying hi/bye/casual friend hug thing, he’ll do the cross/switch arm hug??? (the one where one arm is around your shoulder and the other is on your like,,,,, rib cage/waist area???? you know what i mean 🤚) and he’ll do like the bro pat on your shoulder cause this isn’t really a hug you can hold onto honestly shdhbd
his personal favorite is (guess what i’m about to make this about besties, y’all know me) if he’s sitting in a chair or on a couch or something race will walk over and loop his arms around al’s neck or sit on the arm or just plop himself in alberts lap and kiss his cheek or something and UGH theyre so cute i need to get back into writing
THANK YOU FOR THE ASK MWAH ILY
if you’ve sent anything to my inbox that i haven’t posted yet i’m worKING ON IT I PROMISE IM SO SORRY FJDHDBDBB
also @racecrack-higgins if you have any thoughts on this please for the love of god share them fhdhdhdb
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To my fellow allies: now is not the time to say “we did it” and move on.
One trial of accountability does not eliminate the systemic racism that is rampant in our society. For those who claimed to be an ally during this trial, you don’t get to just wash your hands of this now that it’s over. That’s the difference between performative allyship and actually being an ally. To be an ally that is something you must actively do every single day. It’s about staying educated, supporting black folks, raising your voice with them, and calling out the injustice that is happening.
Black folks will continue to be targets of attack. This trial didn’t fix that. Yes, it was important that he was held responsible for his actions. But he was just one person in an entire system that is rooted in racism by protecting and benefitting white people while oppressing black people and other minority groups.
Justice will not be served until these systems are changed.
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