Everyone has mental health and looking after it is so important but the last 12 months has made looking after our mental health more challenging than ever with lockdowns, social restrictions, working from home, and uncertainty around the future. However, the pandemic has also had a positive impact by encouraging more open conversations around mental health and helping to reduce the stigma associated with it.
Having a strong focus on mental health in the workplace is vital as we spend nearly one third of our lives at work. At Chorus, we have taken this time to reflect on what we can do to better support our employees and have launched a new mental health initiative. We want to create an environment where mental health can be openly discussed and supported and there has never been a more important time for this.
What we are doing
We want our mental health initiative to be a long-term strategy that we continually improve, develop, and evolve by listening to employee feedback. In fact, one of the ideas was suggested by a member of staff through our internal feedback system. Mental health can still be a difficult subject for many to talk about, so we want to ensure lots of different resources and ways of communicating and supporting are available.
Mental Health First Aiders
We worked with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England to get two members of our teams trained to become Mental Health First Aiders: Ben Davies (Sales Manager) and Charlie Wheeler (HR Executive). Much like physical First Aiders, Ben and Charlie are our go-to contacts for anyone that wants to seek support – from signposting to professional help through to simply having someone to talk to in confidence. Through prevention, early detection, and signposting, we hope to support team members by giving everyone a confidential and well-signposted route to seek support.
As well as being our mental health first aiders, Ben and Charlie are our internal ambassadors – championing better mental health awareness by sharing useful guidance for improving mental wellbeing and have already shown their passion and dedication in these roles.
Resources and Signposting
We are also creating a dedicated channel on Microsoft Teams to build out a Wellbeing community for everyone to share insights, tips, and resources, which will be led by Ben and Charlie. On our internal intranet, we now also have a Mental Health area where useful resources, videos and guides are centrally saved, as well as signposting to charities and other places for further support. We recognise that people do not always want to speak to somebody at work, so have a central hub with resources and signposting means that we can still support those that do not wish to speak to someone. By sharing content and encouraging conversations, we hope to continually break down the stigma that is associated with talking about mental health.
Mental Health Awareness Week
To launch our initiative and share what we have been working on, we will be holding a mental health awareness week at Chorus between 15th – 19th March. Every morning, Ben and Charlie will be sharing videos and resources in which they discuss mental health and talk about techniques that can improve wellbeing. Each day has a focus around a particular area:
- Mindful Monday – Launching our mental health initiative and an introduction to Ben and Charlie and the resources that are being released. A focus on being more mindful and sharing ways to help reframe unhelpful thoughts.
- Gratituesday – Tuesday is about living in the present and being grateful with guidance to being more present and thinking about things you are grateful for.
- Wellbeing Wednesday – Tips for living a healthier life and getting better sleep to improve your mental wellbeing, plus two drop-in breathing and mindfulness sessions.
- Thoughtful Thursday – The importance of reaching out and connecting with others, sharing signposting and ways to reach out.
- Feel-good Friday – Reflecting on the week and sharing longer-term plans and encouraging everyone to do something for themselves to feel good.
We’re excited to be launching this initiative and hope to help reduce the stigma around mental health and encourage more open and honest conversations.
If you are interested in mental health first aid training, we recommend MHFA England, which you can find more about here: https://mhfaengland.org/
For excellent resources and mental health and wellbeing guidance, Every Mind Matters has a wealth of videos and tips: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/