This week's column is by Iain McLaren, Councillor Dumbarton

You may have heard about local council staff John Ross and Ross Mackenzie, who late last year rushed to the aid of a man after he collapsed in the street.

The man, Malcolm MacFarlane, had collapsed due to an undiagnosed blood clot, badly injuring his head in the fall.

The waste services workers called an ambulance and tended to his head wound until help arrived. Malcolm has since fully recovered, thankfully, but to add a dash of modesty and style they continued calmly on their way to work afterwards.

What a great pair of guys they must be, and many people will feel a little safer on the street after hearing about their actions.

Just a week prior, Dalmoak staff Kenny McAdam and Tony Scanlon toiled to retrieve a pensioner’s £20,000 savings, which had been accidentally thrown away in Bisto tins.

The honest pair told me they had been overwhelmed by all the thank you messages from the public. Whoever said people don’t like good news?

These acts of kindness have a knock-on effect, inspiring others. And there are many other unsung heroes among the six thousand (mostly local to the area) council workers. Let’s show them some love for all they do, day and night and in all weathers, to keep our area running.

Council workers, just like folk everywhere, tend to try their best in their job – for their own sanity and self-respect, and because most people are decent.

Yet too many workers are subjected to regular abuse from the public, press, or social media.

The recent tragic death of Caroline Flack reminds us that unfair criticism can drive someone to despair and even to thoughts of suicide.

One in three people suffer depression, and the stigma surrounding this needs to end; it should be made as easy to ask for help with mental ill-health as it is for with physical illness. There have been over 100 people lost to suicide in West Dunbartonshire in the last eight years, and that is 100 people too many.

The council is working hard to raise awareness of mental health issues, to increase support, and to reduce stigma. This time of year can be particularly hard for many – if you’ve been feeling low, don’t suffer in silence. Confidential help and support is available from many services including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (01389 817324), Childline (0800 1111) and Young Minds (0808 802 5544).