From queuing to do our weekly shop to viewing our friends and family on a screen, the pandemic has thrown a whole host of new experiences at us that have forced us to quickly adapt to a new normal. There’s no denying this has had an effect on people’s mental health. A study at the beginning of this year found that levels of happiness had dropped from a decade-long 7.5 to 6.4 out of 10. However, it’s important to understand that people were experiencing poor mental health before the pandemic and they will experience it after as well.
One positive that has come from the last 18 months is the increase in conversations about mental health. Having a shared experience, such as national lockdowns, helped people, who may have previously kept quiet, open up about their mental health.
As a business we are committed to creating a culture of open conversations on mental health which is why we have appointed an internal team of Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs). The opportunity to become a MHFA was open to everyone within the business and included an interview with HR to ensure the best people for the job were appointed. The group of MHFAs consist of employees from all aspects of the business, from finance to marketing and even our CEO Andy Gough.
“Personally, I am passionate about improving conversations about mental health and raising awareness but then going a step further and helping to implement relevant support both within the workplace and within society in general. As the leader of the business, I feel it is imperative to lead from the front and show my passion for this initiative and gain an understanding of what I am asking my colleagues to undertake so, on that basis alone, felt it was important to partake in this initiative.” – Andy Gough, CEO and Mental Health First Aider.
Our new MHFAs will shortly be receiving their information pack and full training, provided by Mental Health First Aid England, to support them in their ongoing roles. After their full training, the MHFAs will be a point of contact for any staff experiencing mental wellbeing or emotional issues and support them or sign post them to professional support (either through our company benefits package or the NHS – or a mix of both). The MHFAs will not be offering counselling services or personal opinions and any discussions are treated in the strictest of confidence.
“I wanted to put myself forward as during lockdown I myself struggled as did friends, family and colleagues. I am quite open about when I am struggling but I know some people may not be. I applied to be a Mental Health First Aider as I wanted to prevent anyone feeling like I did by ensuring I had the knowledge to be able to support them through this.
“I manage the trainers who are in quite an isolated role to start with as they work remotely across the UK, I also wanted to ensure that I had the knowledge and experience to pick up on any signs that they may be struggling too.” – Jen Doyle Training Development Manager and HR Officer and Mental Health First Aider.
We want every member of the eQS team to feel as if they can bring their whole self to work. No one should have to hide any aspect of their identity, including their mental health. Our team of MHFAs will be in place indefinitely to ensure conversations around mental health can take place long after the new normal is a thing of the past.
“I applied to become a Mental Health First Aider as I feel it is important to continue conversations about mental health even once Covid is a distant memory. There will always be factors affecting mental health such as work life balance, relationships and loneliness and isolation. At some point everyone will require information or resources that can help them with their mental health.” – Richard Keeling, Content Marketer and Mental Health First Aider.
Click here to visit the Mental Health First Aid England website and find out more about the role of Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace.
Find out more about life and careers at eQS by visiting our careers page.