Taking the course and reducing stigma
The stigma attached to mental health is huge and the first step to reducing this stigma is to talk, and thankfully all of our DNAers were on board with learning more. Every year it costs business’ £1,300 per employee whose mental health needs are unsupported – the cost of putting leadership on an informative course pales in comparison.
Training to raise mental health awareness, reduce stigma and increase mental health literacy in the workplace is more important than ever, especially with the current pandemic. Let’s face it, we’re all feeling pretty isolated, and remote working is great as a flexible way to take on the day, but it now means we have to juggle our home and work-life balance; this can and will affect our resilience, relationships, and mental health. Businesses can’t and shouldn’t ignore the fallout of the last 10 months, but thankfully Paula has the tools to help.
“The training sessions are interactive with evidence-based learning and a mixture of content, video, case studies, and stats. We create discussion in a safe environment and the immersion that takes place helps to cement learning and build confidence to have conversations and create action to support employees.”
Those conversations are what make a difference to team members every time they happen. From a simple check-in or hello to more difficult conversations about how they’re coping, these chats should happen regularly.
“The Mental Health Awareness and Mental Health First Aid Courses are great foundations for Line Managers, Leaders, and colleagues to support employees’ wellbeing,” continues Paula. “They can help reduce absenteeism and presenteeism and help to increase engagement from team members during this difficult time.”
What we learned
During the interactive video call, our DNAers were able to find out what mental health is (and, more importantly, isn’t). So, what’s the difference between mental health and mental illness? Mental health refers to our emotions and psychological state (think how we interact and feel socially). Mental health is not the same as mental illness! This is where things can get confusing, as poor mental health can lead to mental illnesses.
Paula covered various mental disorders such as depression, psychosis, eating disorders, self-harm, as well as suicide. The leadership team came away understanding the ‘mental health continuum’ and how to support people in various stages, from initial poor mental health to mental health conditions and recovery.
What we’re trying to say is that you can always do more to look out for your people. If you’re checking in on your team once a week, make it twice. If you do monthly updates, consider quarterly check-ins too. You can keep an eye and take pre-emptive action to look after your people, instead of trying to react when they’re already feeling down or struggling.
Happy employees stay with your business longer, are more productive, and enjoy their role more than if they feel neglected. Having leaders who have the right tools and resources to help employees with their mental wellbeing, and who are ready to talk about stress and coping mechanisms, shows that you care. It’s the right thing to do.
What’s the benchmark?
We wondered how the pandemic had influenced businesses and their willingness to source training. Where did we fit in as a benchmark? Rather than wonder forever, we asked Paula what she thought.
“Mental health awareness has increased during the pandemic, and there are more wellbeing resources and AI approaches available. From experience, the common feedback is the confidence to share knowledge and experience around mental health facilitated in a safe environment. There is greater opportunity to learn through immersion, connection, and discussion.”
Here at DNA, we have regular staff wellbeing surveys so we can communicate with our people in a way that isn’t always face to face. How we do this stems from our own common sense, but since the training, it has been enhanced by Paula’s knowledge. Weekly chats, monthly updates, and quarterly check-ins, plus the 'walk and talk' we do (when not in lockdown) make the world of difference, as does the impact of fresh air, hearing different perspectives plus the benefits of exercise for mental wellbeing, too.
We’re looking forward to being able to put our certificate on the wall in the office, not only for pride, but as a reminder to our people and our clients that we care, and we’re there.
Let us ask you this - when was the last time your workplace challenged misconceptions and stigma? If you’d like to speak to Paula about utilising the MHFA training in your workplace, you can reach her on LinkedIn, by visiting her website or by giving her a call. If you’d like to speak to one of the DNA team about the health and wellbeing strategy for your team, including employee engagement and employee surveys, get in touch.