When you don’t have someone to talk to about what’s on your mind or getting you down, it can have a real impact on your mental health. In fact, it’s estimated that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. One of our behaviours at DOG is creating an inclusive and safe environment, and so having a safe space to talk about your mental health in the workplace is important to us.
Back in April this year, 10 members of staff here at DOG took part in a two-day course (ran by the amazing Cathy Bailey) to become qualified Mental Health First Aiders in the Workplace. She provided us with the tools and resources that can help us with supporting the wider business.
As a mental health first aider, there are 5 basic steps you can do to support someone (in no particular order)
The 10th October marks World Mental Health Day and so we’ve caught up with our Mental Health First Aiders at DOG to discuss mental health in the workplace and what it means to them.
Why do you think we have mental health first aiders in the workplace?
”At DOG, we want to create an environment where people feel safe to talk about any problems they have, no matter how big or small. Talking about certain issues can be pretty hard, we want not only staff feeling comfortable to be able to approach these conversations, but people support staff in the best way possible.”Lucy Young
”It helps put mental health at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Even if colleagues don’t necessarily need to use the first aiders, they’re still aware and thinking of it. This helps to encourage even the smallest conversation, and can make such a difference.”Claire Mabbett
What made you become a mental health first aider?
”I think that, alongside “traditional” first aid, it’s something that everyone should have knowledge of.”Richard Coupe
”Nobody should feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to in the workplace. Having had experience in the past seeing the benefit of just being able to listen and talk to someone struggling, I wanted to make sure I could be there for anyone who felt they needed to talk.”Kim Hutchinson
”Mental Health problems are the leading cause of sickness/absence in the UK”, this statement alone makes you realise just how many people mental health effects on a day to day basis and in so many different ways. Having the opportunity to go on the training and see how i could get involved and make a difference to someone no matter how big or small, was something i really wanted to get involved in.”Sophie Olivari
What is one of the proudest things you’ve done as a mental health first aider?
”It’s not about being proud of single things we have done but what we all do as a collective and how we can make people feel safe and not judged.”Kate Martin
”Just being present for someone who was struggling. I went with them to the hospital, visited when they felt lonely or wanted to talk and showed them that they’re not alone; people care.”Kim Hutchinson
What would you like to see going forward for mental health in the workplace?
”Within DOG and in a wider business sense, I think everybody should have MHFA Training. Even if they don’t use it to help anybody else, they will have the knowledge that they can and they can also use it to help themselves if they are struggling with any mental health issues.”Samuel Bryce
”For all companies to have mandatory Mental Health First Aiders and education/training on how mental health can not only affect the workplace but your home and personal life too.”Lucy Young
What is your top tip with supporting someone when it comes to mental health?
”Don’t try to solve other people’s problems, although you think you’re helping you could actually be doing more damage. Just be present, give them a safe environment, and really listen to what they’re saying.”Claire Mabbett
”Listen to them. People often want to talk about what they’re dealing with, but are waiting to feel safe enough to do so. Give them that safety and let them do the rest.“Richard Coupe
What can people do to help their own mental health?
Stephenie Caswell explains us the 5 things theory:
Far too often, mental health problems are misunderstood and people can shy away from asking for help when they need it most. Mental health first aiders are hugely valuable in challenging fear and stigma and helping people experiencing mental health problems find the support they need.
We continue to educate staff on mental health in the workplace, with the mental health first aiders making a commitment to running two internal training sessions a year to ensure we provide staff with the resources and support they need.
If you’re going through difficulties and need support check out Mind’s website which is full of resources.