Mental Health Awareness Week – What can we do next?

Workplace Mental Health  – a plan for action!

How do you start your day?

The Bounce team starts most days with a check in session – we ask questions of each other such as :

How is your energy?

How did you sleep?

Is anything concerning you?

This is aimed at ensuring we share the work and that appropriate level of support is given to each team member. This was even more important last week as it was Mental Health Awareness Week and the team was spread around the country. We went on tour to London, Glasgow and Bristol for events with a few social media items and interviews in between. We were wonderfully busy……but the question was –  Did we walk our talk? and more importantly – What did we learn?

Did we walk our talk ?

Yes, but we still had stress.  That is part of life. It was fleeting.

Issues with the Tube in London, last minute nerves, and technology failures were all tackled as they arose. Upon reflection, our check ins with each other were vital to delivering our service.

What did we learn?

1. Supporters need support

We spoke to some amazing Wellbeing Champions last week, really committed to making a difference  in their places of work, and open to sharing their stories. Some have undertaken mental health first aid, but they are not therapists. So the theme for the week was  – how you do take care of each other? If you are told something as a Wellbeing Champion and even with signposting you remain concerned – what do you do? The reality is that there is typically a one month waiting time to access mental health services during which time things can go downhill rapidly. As a business what is your expectation of your Wellbeing Champions? Do you have an escalation pathway? and How do you support the supporters?

2. Mental health still has a stigma

There remains a stigma with saying that you have had or continue to have a mental health issue. Some feedback we had was that people didn’t want to come to the wellbeing area in case it made them look like that can’t cope or there is something wrong with them.

Mental health is like any other health issue – diabetes, asthma, epilepsy – they are circumstances which mean that some people have a routine to make them at their best.  How many of us are truly working at our best with or without any of these life challenges?  So maybe we are all a work in progress…..

3. People are amazing  – we are surrounded by heroes

From Wellbeing Champions helping others through difficult times and inspiring action to the managers who are starting to reflect upon their role in workplace wellbeing – people are amazing.

At one workshop we ran last week a manager chose to stand up and share his challenge with depression thus making it OK to not be OK. The impact was huge. Four people went to their line manager and asked for support, one went to her GP. That is five people starting on a journey to a happier life – sometimes we need to embrace our own vulnerability to be someone else’s hero. ……. we all need to stand up.

Moving forwards……

At Discover Your Bounce we support wellbeing champions, managers and workplaces to be happy productive places. We are not perfect, we are wonderfully human – DYB stands for “Discover Your Bounce” but also for “Do Your Best”. Something we strive to do everyday.

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About The Author

Sharon Critchlow

Sharon Critchlow is a Wellbeing Advocate, speaker and facilitator at Discover Your Bounce for Business. Passionate about people being the best they can be she is a Time To Change Champion for mental health and holds a Masters level qualification in strategic coaching for performance. Sharon is a qualified accountant and has 20 years experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector.