“Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, relationships, starting a new job (or losing one) or other big life events. We can also get anxious when it comes to things to do with money and not being able to meet our basic needs, like heating our home or buying food.” Mental Health Foundation
This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week – a national campaign led by a number of fellow charities. This year’s theme is the cost of living crisis and anxiety.
Oaklea (and our CIC Right2Work) have a number of our employees across the North who have been trained as Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA).
Always a listening ear
Debbie Mould, a Team Manager for Oaklea in Spennymoor, County Durham: “I requested the opportunity to complete the MHFA training as I feel that having good mental health is as important as good physical health and as a member of a team it is important that I am able to support, listen and be approachable should a person require this.”
“Completing this course gave me a greater understanding of the language I use how I lead or listen to a conversation, to always remember to ask if someone is feeling ok and to check in with them again at a later date. I will make sure that I respond and reflect. I can not diagnose anyone but I can support them on their journey to manage their mental health and recover over time. I have used the training at work and in my personal life and realise that mental health can affect us all in different ways and actively listening , being non judgemental and enabling someone to speak freely is a powerful tool.”
A time to ‘vent’ a time to give back
Another MHFA is Rebecca Hewson – she’s an Employment Advisor at our CIC Right2Work ‘Work & Learn’ Team in Carlisle.
“I chose to be a MHFA as I find it highly important to be there for others especially in my line of work working with those with barriers to work. My learners can find the changes tough and sometimes their mental health can dip. I feel a great sense of personal achievement knowing I can help ease their worries but offering alternative ways to maybe deal with these issues, in a way that is more gentler to themselves.My learners are all so different and they could have had a different upbringing or mental challenges throughout their lives and for them just having someone to talk to and offload can be a lot to them.
“I find my job role and being a MHFA compliment each other as guiding, instructing and helping the individuals’ progress moulds into one. I choose to become a MHFA as I love to help others and I find by helping others I get a great sense of achievement knowing I have been able to help no matter if it is as little as just sat listening to someone, as to them this can be something big, someone else giving their time for them to vent.”
How we embed thinking about Mental Health
The Oaklea Group Mental Health First Aid trainers attended their annual refresher training with Mental Health England earlier this year.
“We have a total of 16 employees across the group who are trained in being a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA). By being able to offer employees MHFA support and the opportunity to have free confidential immediate support has been an excellent resource, which has supported employees who have been absent from work, the ability to sign post employees to external services and to be ‘that listening ear’ in times of need.It’s important that we take time to talk, listen and to ask how they are? A problem shared is a problem halved and so if anyone requires support or for more information on how to access support from the MHFA team simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org . This is for employees who are employed at the Oaklea Group.” Helen Shaw, HR Manager
Living your best life – make the most of now!
This is Grace from our Learning2Live project in Windermere – she was at the Highest Point Festival in Lancaster’s Williamson Park. Getting outdoors, being with others and having a shared moment. She was with L2L Support Nicola Oldham who sums up a cracking evening: “Grace living her best life!”
If you want to find out more…