Morson host 'Balls to That' event in partnership with the NAA | Tackling mental health, from rugby pitches to yoga mats

Jessica Tabinor advice



  • Morson was proud to host an event in partnership with the Northern Automotive Alliance, unlike any ordinary networking event

  • The 'Balls to That': Tackling Mental Health, from rugby pitches to yoga mats event took attendees on a journey into workplace wellbeing

Morson was proud to host an event in partnership with the Northern Automotive Alliance, unlike any ordinary networking event…

The 'Balls to That': Tackling Mental Health, from rugby pitches to yoga mats took attendees on a journey into workplace wellbeing. We heard from deaf rugby star and veteran, Craig Monaghan, from Sale Sharks as he delivered his powerful ‘Balls to That’ mental health session in which he shared his personal experiences with PTSD and recovery. Shortly followed by a talk from Heather Deering, Morson’s health, wellbeing and engagement partner on how to effectively approach wellbeing in the workplace.

Founded in 2004 with support from regional government funding and based in the North West, the NAA is an independent company which provides a membership service combined with a project management delivery function within the automotive community.

The session was intentionally kept informal in order to allow attendees to find out more about how Morson approaches wellbeing in the workplace and to gain an insight into how similar initiatives could potentially be implemented in their respective businesses.

‘I’m fine’, ‘man up’, ‘grow a pair’ … Balls to That, let’s talk

Craig’s army career ended abruptly when his battalion was attacked by the Taliban in one of the worst attacks on British soldiers in Afghanistan. Sadly, eight of his comrades died in the attack and Craig was left with brain damage, deafness and severe physical wounds. His challenges with mental health started here.

The inspiring ‘Balls to That’ talk is designed to raise awareness of mental health symptoms and coping techniques, Craig uses his powerful, personal journey to educate others on how to tackle mental health head-on. 

Craig explained that the change in him happened like a switch…

“One day I just said, no I’m not fine, I can’t shake this feeling – and that put me on the road to recovery”

With the support of the people around him, he gradually began to open up and talk about his experiences. One of the main techniques he uses to stay on track is setting a goal each week, even if it’s something as simple as getting out of bed:

“Just getting out of bed used to be a challenge so I’d set that as my goal, then went onto things like running to the end of the street, training for 5 minutes longer per day”

Morson’s mental wellbeing journey

The topic of mental health isn’t new to us at Morson – it’s been part of our conversation for several years and is a journey in which the whole business can learn and grow. Our activity has centred around creating a culture and working environment which is open, unbiased and inclusive, underpinned by professional support and resources for employees in need.

Heather’s talk provided key takeaways about recognising the signs and symptoms of mental health difficulties, as well as insights into how business leaders can support their teams and how colleagues can support each other.

Our mental wellbeing journey began three years ago when we launched MorFit, our fitness programme for employees. Being active is not only great for your physical health as evidence shows it can massively improve your mental wellbeing too. At Morson, staff are able to enjoy the use of our onsite gym in the basement of our head office, along with a schedule of fitness classes from body conditioning to yoga and low-intensity classes.

As part of our mental health awareness initiative, we have responded to employee feedback requesting more practical guidance around mental health in the workplace. As a result, we have created a mental health toolkit for managers and colleagues. The toolkit explores subjects such as signs and signals someone might be experiencing a mental health issue and information on how to approach a conversation around mental health. Click below to download the toolkit.download the toolkitOur Managing Mental Health in the Workplace training module is now compulsory for anyone with line manager responsibilities. This course provides our line managers with the information and skills they need to identify, support and manage employees with mental health conditions, as well as imparting the understanding that supporting the mental health of their team is a key responsibility of being a line manager.

In May we launched our Mental Health First Aider programme where a group of colleagues are trained to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health and provide help on a first aid basis in the same way that a physical first aider would. They’re able to recognise the warning signs of mental ill-health or emotional distress, approach discussions in a sensitive and non-judgemental manner, and guide people to appropriate resources if they need them.

For us, putting Mental Health First Aiders in place across the business is a way of demonstrating that it’s okay to talk about mental health in the workplace and to encourage anybody who is experiencing distress to reach out for help.

The event was a huge success and finished with an optional MorFit yoga session and networking hosted in our building.

If you’re struggling with a mental health issue and would like to speak to someone or seek support, you can contact the Samaritans’ free helpline number 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling 116 123.