Thinking about mental health in the workplace
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
Recently, the company I work for gave me the opportunity to attend a Mental Health First Aider course. This course was run by St Johns Ambulance and consisted of two days of discussion, information giving and quite frankly, a huge eye-opening experience.
The course covered:
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
As is a normal part of group discussion events, we started day one by introducing ourselves to the group. We were a collection of HR people, managers, caseworkers and myself and when it came to the course tutor he introduced himself and then went on to note that although he was here to teach us about Mental Health, he was himself a person who had daily suicidal thoughts, had tried to commit suicide in the past, and was currently still dealing with his own anxiety and depression. We did not expect this!
To give some background, I am a Commercial Director in the construction industry. I have worked in the construction industry for over thirty years and it is only after the thought-provoking course I experienced that I realised what a real issue this was within my own industry. This is not just something for staff in my office but also right across the industry and at all levels where people are dealing with their own issues on a daily basis.
A two day course clearly around mental health in the workplace has not given me the skills to be able to fix anybody’s problems. But what is has given me is the training to be able to spot when someone is showing the signs of a mental health issue and also the confidence to be able to approach this person and talk to them in the correct way to try and understand what they are experiencing. It is only through this process that I can then provide information and assistance including pointing them in the right direction of where they can, if they want to, receive the support they need.
It is Mental Health Awareness Week and as part of this awareness the charity MINDS is focussing on the theme of Body Image and how we think and feel about our bodies. Body image issues can affect all of us at any age. During the week MINDS will be publishing new research, considering some of the reasons why our body image can impact the way that we feel, campaigning for change and publishing practical tools. See the link below for further information:
If you are experiencing any mental health issue, don’t keep it to yourself, it is always good to talk and share your issues with others. There are more and more Mental Health First Aiders being trained every day as we all increase our awareness but you don’t need a first aider to talk to, just pick someone who you think will be able to listen. On the flip side if you see someone who is out of sorts, acting out of character or just looks stressed, go and talk to them. You could save their lives.
Written by Ian Donaldson -Commercial Director
13th May 2019