Mental Health in the workplace

The case for mental health training in the workplace

So, why do we need mental health training anyway?

POINT3S OF VIEW BY CO-FOUNDER NICKY MORGAN

I spent 18 years working in the wonderful, hectic, exciting, dynamic, ever-changing world of events marketing. More often than not I strived on the stress and pressure that inevitably came with the job which has been cited – believe it or not! – as the 5th most stressful job in the world after the military + emergency services.

I worked hard, long, electrifying hours. I manoeuvred through different roles in an agency I absolutely loved. I planned experiences for brilliant brands in incredible places. I worked with some of my best friends (for life). Until ultimately I found myself in a board level position with responsibility for people and culture. Work life was challenging, full-on and purposeful.

And yet some mornings it took all of might to get myself out of bed. Some nights I would feel lost and anchorless. At one point I gained a diagnosis of anxiety.

Whilst I worked for an organisation where I knew – instinctively – I was safe to show up exactly how I was on any given day, somehow I still wasn’t ever able to share that I had been to the doctors, been prescribed medication and told I was experiencing an acute level of anxiety.

I self-judged, I self-stigmatised and I believed it would indicate a “weakness” in me that I feared being reflected back through my managers and colleagues.

And then one day – in a board meeting – we had a visit from a representative from our local council. Her job was to raise awareness and understanding of mental health in the workplace. She shared a few, very impactful, statistics that opened the eyes of some – and let the scales fall away from the eyes of others. I felt seen, I felt empowered and I felt inspired to do what I could – with the circles of influence I had – to start chipping away at the stigma that I had heaped upon myself.

And this is why I’m so passionate about mental health training within the workplace

At a basic level it opens the conversation around mental health sending out a clear message that “we’re an organisation that’s comfortable having this conversation – we care”. In turn this helps to break down the associated stigma, raise mental health awareness and build understanding and knowledge. All of this then becomes the building blocks for fuelling positive onward action – in a way that feels right and appropriate for any given organisation. 

With 1 in 6 adults of working age having symptoms associated with poor mental health at any given time, there’s also a really clear reason why businesses have a responsibility to support that 1 in 6 – as well as to raise levels of understanding and compassion amongst the 5 in 6. Add to that, poor mental health is responsible for 72 million lost working days – and costs UK employers £45 billion each year – and it feels like the case for raising mental health awareness in the workplace is pretty much closed!

But really, in my opinion, more than anything this is about helping our people be a little bit more human. It’s providing time and space to learn, raise awareness of ourselves and others and be equipped with ways to cope and provide support when it might be needed.

Mental Health Training and Support at POINT3 Wellbeing

At POINT3 we believe in varying stages and depths of training depending on an organisation’s needs.

  1. Mental Health First Aid training – consider this 2 day training as the mental health equivalent to physical first aid training.  MHFA England’s ambition is for 1 in 10 adults to be trained as an MHFAider. So if 10% of your organisation is a trained MHFAider you’ll be on par with MHFA’s ambition. Some of our clients choose to train all of their managers in this advanced training, whilst others choose to train a handful of MHFAiders across their whole organisation. We’ve been told this training is “life changing” and is highly recommended for passionate individuals working within any size of organisation.
  2. Mental Health Awareness training – this half day (4 hour) training is ideal for organisations looking to upskill managers / employees on how to spot signs and support people experiencing poor mental health. It’s an opportunity to create mental health “ambassadors”, allow time for intimate team conversations and drive onward change and action.
  3. Mental Health workshops – for organisations who want to open up the conversation amongst their teams we offer an entry-level 60 minute workshop to raise awareness, understanding and offer practical tools and resources.
  4. Mental Health Meet-ups – for organisations who would like to offer their MHFAiders and other MH ambassadors with “after-care” if you like, this is a facilitated opportunity for MHFAiders to share challenges, best practice and to keep their MH training and skills up-to-date amongst their colleagues.

To every person we meet in a training room we say the same thing: “As your trainer, we are here to support you at any point in the future – later today, tomorrow, in a year’s time…” We know that the mental health conversation can be empowering, inspiring, motivating – but it can also raise questions and concerns too. 

For our trained MHFAiders we run (free!) virtual “MHFA meet-ups” and a LinkedIn community to provide forums to support and connect our MHFA community.

For other individuals we pick up conversations on an ad-hoc basis to answer questions, offer support and signposts.

As a small business this extra ad-hoc support and supervision is something we are able to offer out to all of our clients as a value-add. We believe an important part of our job is to ensure the people we come into contact feel empowered and supported every step of the way.

For some organisations we also formalise this support package through individual and group coaching sessions depending on their specific needs.

Whatever the size, scale and situation of your organisation – implementing a mental health programme is something we’d highly recommend considering. The is ROI proven (with a 2020 report from Deloitte reporting an average £5 return on every £1 spent). But really this is about remembering that we’re all human – we all have mental health – and with a little more awareness, understanding and compassion we can collectively do our bit to support ourselves and those around us to manage our mental health and wellbeing as best we can at any point in time.

With thanks and kudos also to all those we have trained to date – and a reminder that we’re still here for that check-in if ever you need it 🙂

You can listen to our short 15 minute overview of our mental health workplace training options here.

If you’d like to chat to us about how we can support you and your business with mental health training, then please do reach out. We’d love to help.