Mental Health Awareness Week - Shepherds Friendly

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

12th May 2021

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week (10-16th May 2021). When it comes to our staff, we know that mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing. Here’s a quick run-down of what we’ve been doing recently to support our team with their mental health.

Mental Health First Aiders

Claims Manager, Nikki Hargreaves became our first official Mental Health First Aider after becoming qualified just over two years ago. She’s been using her skills to support colleagues and sometimes our members with their mental health. Here’s what she’s had to say about her experience so far:

“Since becoming a Mental Health First Aider, I’ve been taking the opportunity to engage with staff as much as possible, whether that’s over the phone, via email or at a virtual staff event. It’s been great seeing the conversation around mental health opening up in our workplace, especially during the challenging year we’ve all faced because of COVID-19.”

Nikki has kindly shared some advice to help you take care of your own mental health and that of others around you:

  • “It’s important to respond to the question ‘how are you doing?’ honestly. Sharing your feelings and connecting with people can have a real positive impact on your mental health and help you build a network of support.”
  • “Similarly, don’t forget to ask how others are and take time to listen to and discuss their answer. Even if someone avoids the question, don’t be afraid to ask again! Check in with people you haven’t heard from in a while, they might need a friend right now.”
  • “Being open with people helps other people, too. Someone may find comfort knowing that others are experiencing some sort of impact on their mental health, whether or positive or negative. It’s good to talk!”

We’re pleased to confirm that another member of our team, Ian Cronshaw, is currently in the process of training to be a Mental Health First Aider, so we can offer even more support. We’ll keep you up to date with how he gets on.

5k a day challenge

We started the month with a new walking challenge called: “Step into May with 5k a Day”. This challenge aims to encourage our team to get away from their desk and spend some time outside every day in order to boost their mental and physical wellbeing. Which fits in nicely with this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, which is nature. Our HR Assistant, Maxine Taylor said:

“We’re challenging our team to run, walk or jog a minimum of 5,000 steps a day, as we know that exercise and getting out in nature can have a real positive impact on your mental health. As part of this challenge, we’re also encouraging staff to work as virtual teams to get those steps in, so they have another opportunity to interact with their colleagues.”

There will be prizes up for grabs for those that take part including most steps, best team name and best photo. For everyone who completes their challenge, a donation will be given to our nominated charity, Seashell Trust.

Mental health and wellbeing Teams channel

This Teams channel was initially set up at the start of the first lockdown, to offer staff a forum to talk about mental health whilst working remotely. Over the past year, staff have been sharing their thoughts, any advice and helpful resources with their colleagues to help promote an open and supportive conversation about mental wellbeing.

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, we will be sharing some top tips in this channel to help our team manage their mental health and encourage positive wellbeing habits. 

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