Championing and Supporting Mental Health Wellness

Acknowledging the importance of talking about mental health wellbeing and developing a culture of ensuring support is offered to all our colleagues, we have established a network of voluntary Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA).

Initial training was undertaken in 2020 despite limitations presented by COVID-19 and, since January 2021, the programme has further developed, and a MHFA focus group has been established with a monthly forum.

Whilst chaired by the HR team, encouragingly this ‘round table’ event promotes discussion, unity, and support within the MHFA group, and our future strategy includes:

  • Guest speakers with a professional mental health practitioner background
  • Regional MHFA lanyard identification for each MHFA to make them easily identifiable
  • Internal communication highlighting the MHFA group
  • In-person training in regional groups to increase capability and confidence of MHFAs

Mental health challenges are such a familiar part of our everyday lives and we acknowledge that people can experience difficulties at any time and in any setting.

Through the turbulence and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disruption to our daily lives and the need to socially distance, mental health illness and feelings of isolation, fear and loneliness have been amplified, increasing anxiety and stress.

Across different industries a lack of understanding has meant people have felt less able to talk about their concerns in a work environment due to fear, and the stigma attached to mental health conditions.

Encouragingly, awareness and perception of mental health issues has vastly improved talking about mental health and seeking support is more commonplace.

We have a great opportunity to encourage our colleagues who may be experiencing difficulties to talk and seek support. Through this scheme we are promoting a safe environment where colleagues are encouraged to talk about their mental health and to do so with openness and confidence that they will be offered support, be listened to, and be encouraged to seek the appropriate help and assistance that is available.

We believe that by changing societies and working communities’ culture and views of mental health, and striving to eradicate any perceived stigma, a society and working community with a culture of inclusion, acceptance, support, and assistance will be achieved.