I care deeply about Mental Wellbeing and back in 2018 when Vendigital’s Mental Health Champion group was established, I knew I wanted to be involved. I have been closely impacted by Mental Health issues and I saw the effects that they can have on one’s life, their families and close friends. In my very small way, I wanted to help eliminate the stigma around Mental Health in our society, and be a resource and support to those in need, starting from within my organisation. Mental Health issues are too common in the workplace and statistics confirm this: in 2018, 78% of people have been so stressed that they felt they were unable to cope. I really wanted to support Vendigital and my colleagues in ensuring that the right level of support was provided across all of our teams.
The role of Vendigital’s Mental Health Champions is to create opportunities to have conversations about mental health in the workplace, dispel myths, and make it easier for people to seek support. We base our initiative around 3 principles:
- Awareness (we share information, statistics, and ‘support tools’ with our people – to ensure we spread the word);
- Prevention (we look after each other, we encourage transparent and authentic discussions and promote a healthy work-life balance); and
- Intervention (we ensure that appropriate support is given or made available to those who are experiencing some difficulties).
As all the other Vendigital Mental Health Champions I received Mental Health First Aid training preparing me to support my colleagues and encourage them to seek professional help when needed.
As MHCs we have regular Committee Meetings where we discuss and decide on the events to run in the coming months and share views on how the atmosphere is in the workplace. Our work doesn’t stop there; the most important role we have is to talk with our teams and colleagues, provide advice and further support (or just “lend an ear”), and discuss specific concerns to make sure none goes unaddressed. We ran some successful events in the past such as Tea and Talks – where one or two MHCs grab some time with colleagues over a cup of tea and a slice of cake and encourages an open dialogue (sometimes we choose a specific focus theme, for example “emotional resilience”). Other events we organised have been Friday Sharing Sessions which are in person or video meetings aimed at raising awareness on a specific topic, such as Stress or Anxiety. We have also organised a number of fundraising events in partnership with our chosen Charity Partner SANE sane.org.uk.
The role of Mental Health Champion is very personally fulfilling, knowing that I am supporting my colleagues and delivering positive change across our teams.