When we talk about workplace wellbeing and mental health awareness, we generally go into organisations where there is an HR lead, or a team leader who has been charged with putting this on the company’s agenda. This works well and we can reach a lot of people in one presentation, workshop or training course.
We have, however, spent a lot of time talking about a group who we have named “the harder to reach” and this current pandemic has made us think more about those individuals who maybe don’t have the support network that organisations offer during this period of increased isolation.
We are talking hairdressers, taxi drivers, self-employed business owners, entrepreneurs running businesses on their own, sports and fitness instructors and those who are not in employment…those with a limited, or indeed no, network of colleagues or managers to support their wellbeing during this time. We know that people will be drawing on their networks of friends, family and even clients but potentially do not have the opportunity to undertake specific training or education around mental health awareness, stress management and self-care that would typically be offered within a corporate environment.
We are well on the path to it becoming a legal requirement for organisations to have trained mental health first-aiders in place to support the wellbeing of their staff, something we champion as we work towards embedding a culture change, but for the time being it tends to be larger organisations with budgets and accountability.
So, at West Kent Mind we want to appeal to you all. The training and education we provide is for everyone and is essential learning, whether you are managing a team, supporting a family or, just as importantly, managing your own mental wellbeing.
For some, this period of isolation will provide opportunities for growth, learning and reflection, for others it will present challenges and be a time of wrestling with negative thoughts and emotions.
Both scenarios will have an impact on your mental wellbeing. Initially we were all in a period of adjustment but as time passes the novelty wears off. Some are setting themselves challenges or goals, picking up new hobbies, revisiting old ones or simply enjoying the slower pace of life.
Others will be finding the interruption of normal routines is increasing anxiety levels and the goal is simply to take this week-by-week and come out the other end healthy. Both are equally admirable.
We have talked a lot about the “Six Ways to Wellbeing” in our columns and now would like to focus on learning. Learning can be watching a documentary on a subject you know little about, reading a factual book, taking up an instrument or learning a new recipe.
All require motivation but all deliver pleasure and opportunities for growth. You can also learn about yourself. While living through what is undoubtedly a period of increased uncertainty, stress and worry, what better time to learn or remind yourself of the tools and techniques to look after yourself better.
We have no bigger asset than our physical and mental health and no better time to turn the spotlight on it and look after ourselves.
We are here to help you and have numerous opportunities for mental health education through workshops, webinars and courses. We would like to reach as many of you as possible, so please get in touch via email at email@example.com.
If you need support now, then our duty line remains open and a full list of support resources is available on our website.
For more information on our services, please visit www.westkentmind.org.uk
You can contact us at the following email addresses:
• firstname.lastname@example.org (for training in schools)
• email@example.com (for enquiries about courses for individuals or organisations)
• firstname.lastname@example.org (for general enquiries or support)
Resources and Signposting:
Need help now? If your life is at risk call 999, 111 or go to your nearest A&E department.
SAMARITANS 24/7 helpline
Free to call, even from mobiles out of credit. Call 116 123.
SHOUT – 24/7 crisis textline
Free on most networks, text 85258.
Release the Pressure 24/7 helpline
Free to call on 0800 1070160.
CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – Suicide Prevention for Men
Free to call on 0800 585858 or webchat at thecalmzone.net/help
5.00pm-midnight every day.
Call 0300 304 7000, 4.30pm -10.30pm every day.
Mental Health Matters 24/7 helpline (Kent & Medway)
Free to call on 0800 1070160 from landlines or 0300 3305486 from mobiles.
Free to call/chat 0800 1111 or online at childline.org.uk
9am until midnight (currently reduced hours)
Mental Health Matters
Webchat at mhm.org.uk 24 hours a day.