Mental health is probably one of the most talked about topic’s over the past couple of years since the pandemic. This has to be taken as a positive as this has raised awareness and hopefully contributed to reducing the stigma of mental health.
We are not always very good at talking about ourselves, how we feel, how we are coping and that is just what mental health is, how we effectively cope and deal with everyday tasks and activities.
From the moment we wake up in the morning we instantly know how we are feeling and how that will impact on the day ahead. Fortunately for a lot of people, the daily routine is just that and doesn’t bring any problems. However, for some people that isn’t the case. It could be anything from not feeling up to coping with a meeting/appointment, making that phone call to sort out a bill, or even going out the house to go shopping that brings on a feeling of dread, anxiousness, palpitations, upset stomach, not wanting to leave the house….
The important thing is that if we do talk to someone if we are not feeling our usual self, not coping with what we could before, it’s a good way to take a step to feeling better. How often when someone asks you how you are, the reply is usually ‘I’m fine’. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we felt we could reply with ‘I’m good today thanks!’ (FINE: fed up, irritated, nauseous, exhausted)
A step forward is to create a culture of openness in the workplace to help navigate staff members if they experience any periods of ‘feeling low’, ‘feeling anxious/worried’. By simply taking the time to speak to each other, checking in by telephone, video call, coffee catch ups we can learn a lot about each other. Here at DBC we have mental health information displayed around the centres for both staff and learners, monthly Keeping You Safe newsletters, weekly news update emails in addition to Air Time Talks with the MD. Visiting the office for meetings is a great way of seeing work colleagues especially with more working from home hours now.
As a company we have a very ‘open door’ policy where you feel you can talk to someone, that may even be in the kitchen if you bump into someone who’s also ready for another coffee. On a more formal basis we have a Wellbeing Policy, Wellbeing Action Plans, mental health first aider’s and also qualified and experienced Safeguarding Leads.
With a lot of things in place we are very much aware that more can be done as mental health problems are not going to go away, in fact, they are likely to increase as demands for specialist support are also increasing which means so will the waiting time to receive that support.
In a world where we can be anything, the simplest thing to be is #Bekind, take notice, listen to others, you don’t have to be an expert, just a listener.
By Sue Colebourne