It’s Mental Health Awareness week from 9–15 May (mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mentalhealth-awareness-week) and we talk to Louise Makin, Head of Internal Communications & Engagement to hear about her experiences of being a Mental Health First Aider.
“I became a fully qualified Mental Health First Aider in March 2020. If I was to think about why, there was several reasons, however the main driving factor was my work colleagues. Working in an open plan office environment I was lucky enough to have had an office.
That office became a safe haven for people to come and visit, and to talk. I experienced a few occasions when colleagues, would simply walk in, close the blinds, shut the door and cry. As I embarked on my journey of learning, Covid struck and as a result the focus of the businesses shifted towards fostering an environment that would promote the importance of people’s health and wellbeing.
Mental health is part of our overall health. It’s about how we feel, think, and behave. How we cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. How we feel about ourselves and our life. How we see ourselves and our future. How stress affects us. How we deal with negative events and our self-esteem and confidence.
We Are All Unique
The way we make sense of the world, of other people and ourselves, including our feelings, beliefs, and behaviours, are unique to each and every one of us – they are shaped by our past experiences and our beliefs.
Those past experiences can include our family life, our upbringing, our environment, education, culture, and general day to day life experiences. Sometimes our window of the world can lead us to make judgements about a person’s situation, and so hinder us from truly listening non-judgementally to the person we are trying to help. This was another reason as to why I wanted to become a MHF Aider.
Mental ill health covers a variety of different conditions, ranging from depression, anxiety and stress related disorders to schizophrenia and personality disorder. In the workplace the primary manifestations of mental ill health are anxiety, stress, and depression.
Anyone can develop mental ill health at almost any time in their life, just as they can a physical illness. Mental ill health is no respecter of age, background, or circumstances. It can be triggered by a range of things – including ostensibly happy events like getting married, having a baby, getting a new job or being promoted.
Other things include:
- Starting a new job and working with new colleagues.
- A poor relationship with a line manager or boss.
- Coping with increased workload, pressure, or promotion.
- Lack of appreciation.
- Health scares or physical illness.
- Divorce or relationship breakdown.
It’s always good to talk
At Active Care Group, we partner with Health Assured, who provide a 24/7, confidential employee benefit scheme which is there to help you deal with personal and professional problems.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to, please contact the Samaritans by calling 116 123 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”