Staff Spotlight - Alex Weir


Tell us about yourself?

I’m Alex, I’m 35 years old and I have lived in the Perthshire area since my family moved here from North East Scotland when I was 3. I have a wife and two little boys (4 years and 11 months old) so life can be quite busy though always fun.

I studied Applied Psychology at Heriot-Watt University. I came to start working at UHI Perth in 2017, taking on the role of Wellbeing and Support Officer. In 2022, I started a 15-month secondment as the Mental Health Co-ordinator (MHC).

What is your role at UHI Perth?

I am the Mental Health Co-ordinator and within this role I acts as the day-to-day overview for the delivery of the Wellbeing and Support and Counselling Service - both within the student services department. In short, I look at ways to ensure our students have access to the best possible support which hopefully will enrich their experience here at UHI Perth.

I do this by working closely with both internal and external partners to bring services to students and make it easier for students to access this support. I also deliver a variety of mental health and wellbeing workshops to both staff and students this includes decider skills and Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid courses.

Another big part of my job is the promotion of mental health and wellbeing issues for all students and staff with UHI Perth. Together with my Student Service colleagues, we organise events to raise awareness of mental health issues to improve people’s understanding of these issues and tackle stigma. Through the Mental Health Co-ordinator role I have also helped to develop and run wellbeing groups for staff and students, including the neurodiverse group and The Man Cave group.

Finally, I also am a duty worker which means I work on a rota system with the other duty workers and we provide cover to support students in crisis or in immediate need of support whilst in College.

What’s the best part of your job?

Strangely one of the best parts of my job is often the most nerve-racking. Delivering wellbeing workshops like Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid and Decider Skills allows me to talk passionately about mental health and raise awareness of what are incredibly important topics. Hopefully doing so in an enjoyable manner allows me to share my knowledge and experiences to help give people the skills and confidence to put these skills into practice whether in their professional or personal life.

What is a typical day at work like?

That’s a tricky one, it’s cliché to say, though really, no two days are the same. At the moment, it is trying to evaluate where we are as a service and continually looking at ways to ensure that we continue to improve and provide the best wellbeing support we can for our students.

Favourite quote/saying?

If you ask any of my colleagues this is an easy one. As I must say ‘It is what it is’ everyday and probably multiple times a day, so much so that I am not even aware I am saying it half the time! I suppose this just a way of reminding myself that I am not in control of everything around me and sometimes I just have to let things be and make sure that I am placing my time and energy into things I can have a positive impact upon.

Favourite type of music?

I like a bit of everything really though my favourite bands would be Blink 182 and Linkin Park. I even have a Blink 182 tattoo.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I love gaming whether that’s playing a single player game or playing online with friends it’s a great way to relax and socalise. I also love playing golf when the weather is cooperating.

Favourite type of food?

I would have to say Chinese food.

Favourite holiday destination, and why?

I went to California in 2015 on my honeymoon with my wife and drove up the coast from San Diego up to San Francisco. But if I was being totally honest the absolute best part was stopping off in LA for two days to go to Disneyland. I am a big kid at heart and even as an adult on his honeymoon, it was so much fun.  

Where would you like to travel next?

It may sound a little boring going back to the same place though I would love to go to Disney and take my boys as I think they would have an amazing time and find it to be a magical experience. This will probably have to wait until they are both old enough to really appreciate it and be able to go on most of the rides.
So, with that holiday being quite some time away I suppose my next holiday it would be great to go to Mexico to visit my twin brother and his family. 

Favourite book?

Being dyslexic, I was never a big reader growing up and this trend hasn’t really changed over the years. I am a Manchester United fan so I have read a number of ex-players and managers books which was always interesting to get some inside details.

In a previous job, while working night shifts, I set myself the task to read more books and trying to make things a little easier on myself I googled the best books under 200 pages. One of the suggestions that I came across was Animal Farm by George Orwell. This was probably the only book I have ever read that I struggled to put down and have read more than once. So for that reason, I would have to say Animal Farm is my favourite book.

Favourite TV show or film?

My favourite movie is Jaws, I have a strange love/hate relationship with sharks they both fascinate and terrify me. My favourite television series is probably ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a professional Rugby player, though as I got older It became more and more obvious that this was not going to be possible. As I got older I knew I wanted to work helping people in some regard and then after studying Applied Psychology at University, I knew that was working with people to support them to improve their mental health and wellbeing.