Jessica Tabinor Mental Illness Awareness
WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2019 | 8 MIN READ
This #WorldMentalHealthDay we reflect on the progress that we have made throughout the year in terms of raising awareness and the support that is now available to our colleagues and contractors.
Throughout the day we will be sharing more information about what initiatives Morson has put in place and the positive impact these initiatives have had over the past year.
Today marks #WorldMentalHealthDay2019. A day where the nation comes together for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but 10th October is a great day to show your support for better mental health and start looking after your own wellbeing.
1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from mental health issues, although only around 30% seek help. So, today we wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made throughout the past year in terms of raising awareness and the support that is now available to our colleagues and contractors if you, or someone you are concerned about, is experiencing a mental health issue.
Launching the Morson Group Mental Health First Aider network
In May we launched our Mental Health First Aiders programme where colleagues throughout our UK office network are trained to identify, understand, and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. They are based all over the country and provide emotional support and guidance to our colleagues in branch offices, onsite and at our head office in Manchester. Identifiable by their white lanyards, they’re here to be a point of contact if you, or someone you are concerned about, is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress and are available to talk to over the phone, via email, or in person.
We’ve had a fantastic response to implementing this support network at Morson. Heather Deering, our Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner spoke about some of the feedback we have received:
“Everyone has embraced these initiatives with open arms; the reception has been invariably positive. We’ve had feedback that making mental health an ongoing and central point of focus has acted as an excellent catalyst to opening up the conversation among our employees and contractors, without anyone feeling self-conscious. This is really important to us as one of our main aims when we launched the initiative was to normalise conversations around mental health in the workplace.
Our HR team have noticed an increase in the number of employees who disclose to us that they are living with mental health conditions. I don’t think this is representative of a true increase in people experiencing issues, but rather of those who feel comfortable letting us as a business know about them. This is so crucial because it allows us to reach out and offer support to our colleagues, ensuring we’re making sure their workplace is an environment for them to thrive. The thing is, not everybody wants or needs to take it up, but knowing it’s there is sometimes enough.”
Heather discusses the scheme...
We’ve implemented mental health in the workplace training
Another initiative we have launched this year is our Managing Mental Health in the Workplace training module which 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.
“The training we’ve provided and continue to provide is also proving invaluable to our managers. I’ve had several instances of feedback and visible demonstration where training has changed perspectives, provided the confidence to approach discussions around mental health, or ability to deal with situations in a more assured manner.”
We asked Heather if she could demonstrate the impact that implementing mental health initiatives into a business could really have. The impactful story she shared was so inspiring…
“The best example I can think of to demonstrate the impact, actually happened very recently. One of our MHFAs conducted an intervention for a distressed member of the public who was intending to complete suicide at a railway station. With the help of a colleague she intervened, talking with the person to help de-escalate the situation, keeping them and everyone else involved safe until the emergency services arrived. When I spoke with this colleague after the incident, she said that she felt without a doubt that her MHFA training allowed her to confidently identify and deal with the situation on the day. She has since received a certificate and letter of thanks from the Samaritans for her actions, and we’re incredibly proud of her. Although this is of course an extreme example it provides a good indicator of how our training is having a real-life impact.”
It might not just be a bad day - download our toolkit
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 new toolkit which looks at subjects such as signs and signals someone might be experiencing a mental health issue and how to approach a conversation around mental health. Click below to download the toolkit.