Time to Talk Day 2021 is one of the most important mental health dates in the calendar, aiming to get the nation talking about mental health. With many people’s personal life and work life looking entirely different compared to this time last year, Time to Talk Day helps to break the barriers of isolation and start the conversation to end the stigma of mental health.
With offices closing their doors and working from home swiftly becoming ‘the new normal’, checking in on your colleagues and recognising that anyone can be affected by mental health is crucial in maintaining your team’s wellbeing. We have pulled together some top tips on how to identify bad mental health in your remote-based colleagues, the best ways to start these conversations and how to support your co-worker’s mental health as well as keeping your own in good shape.
At Active Care group, we also prioritise the mental wellbeing of our cherished key workers who are providing essential care to vulnerable people every day. We want to raise awareness for poor mental health among carers and the steps we can take to ensure Active Care Group is doing everything we can to support our staff members.
Wellbeing and working from home
Heading into the office and engaging in daily face-to-face communication with your colleagues made pinpointing differences in behaviour easier to spot. Loss of appetite and appearing stressed can be easily identified in an office environment, however spotting these symptoms over a Teams or Zoom call can be exceptionally more difficult. Nevertheless, in our Active Care Group Podcast ‘Time To Talk & Mental Health’ Ellie, our Mobilisation Manager in Care in the Home, outlined a few key signs to look out for such as:
A colleague who is usually quite a loud character becoming withdrawn
Not taking part in idea generation and participating as usual
Becoming snappy or irritable
Random sick days being taken more regularly
Whilst it is possible that they may just be having a bad day, it is important not to ignore these tell-tale signs. Asking a simple ‘are you okay?’ can take such a weight off a person’s shoulders and open the doors to having that all-important conversation.
For some, working from home can be an extremely isolating experience. Normal routines are completely thrown off, and it is all too easy to forget to practise self-care. Simple tasks such as trying to stick to your usual routines, taking a break to get some fresh air, and setting up a workspace away from your sofa can have an amazing affect on your wellbeing. In a leadership role, setting up regular 1-2-1’s over a video call with your staff is a great way to start up a conversation with someone you feel might be struggling, or just to offer a friendly face in a worrying time.
Making sure your team are aware of any emotional support tools available is essential, here at Active Care Group we signpost to the Employee Assistance Program, this is a 24/7 anonymous counselling phone line available to call and speak to about anything that may be affecting your mental wellbeing. The educated practitioners will be able to direct you personally if you feel any further assistance is required. However, if you feel that you are not quite ready to start the conversation just yet, the internet is an excellent resource tool in providing a multitude of advice, research and help with free access websites such as blurtitout.org and mind.org.uk.
Frontline workers and wellbeing
Statistics found that 71% of carers have poor physical or mental health, this is often down to the fact that supporting others can be an exhausting role. Sometimes the pressure of supporting others can leave you with no time to nurture your own health. This is why Active Care Group take the mental wellbeing of our carers as a top priority. We highly advise all care staff to take full advantage of the resources we have put in place such as the Employee Assistance Program, reward and recognition initiatives, and 24/7 network support.
Being an essential care worker in these uncertain times is challenging, yet highly gratifying. Ending the stigma on mental health in this sector and opening up to the people around you, your management or friends and family is the first step to change. Active Care Group work with our carers every step of the way and we are always here to listen and make positive adjustments to benefit the wellbeing of our carers.
Take a moment to today to start the conversation and ask a colleague how they really are.