Reflecting on mental health in the workplace on ‘Blue Monday’
January is often a tough time for many people mentally and ‘Blue Monday’ further highlights when all those bills come in after Christmas and the longer nights make it a depressing time. We are lucky enough to have an excellent Mental Health First Aider, Sue Smith, in our office so we thought having an insight into her role would highlight the importance of mental health awareness in the workplace.
Sue’s role, which is in addition to her Team Leader position, is designed to support people if they want to talk about something that is causing them concern or worry. Sue says “We always promote the fact we operate an open-door policy, as well as the senior management. Luckily, we work in an open plan office and as many of us have worked for Sutcliffe’s for many years, we can often pick up if something is bothering someone or if someone is struggling and we always try to help wherever we can, both on a personal and a work level. It is important that people have someone who will listen to them without judgement.”
In February 2020 Sue attended a training course in Birmingham run by MHIB (Mental Health in Business) over 2 days and learnt so much about mental health, she says “We explored the effects that mental health can have on people, the impact on family/friends and how as trained Mental Health First Aiders we can help, offer support and signpost to different organisations. This relates to anything, whether that be family issues, depression, anxiety, general mental wellbeing – with mental health, it can sometimes be something that creeps up on you.”
“We all get stressed and overwhelmed at times with different situations, but it is when the overwhelming feeling doesn’t go away and just starts to consume you. Not everyone knows or realises the signs and symptoms and before you know it, you are properly suffering with mental health, so much so that help, and support is needed.”
“Following on from doing the course, I felt inspired by the course leader, Claire Russell and her story, so I started the process of volunteering for Samaritan’s, of which I have now been a fully qualified listening volunteer for just over a year. People need to understand talking is key, it is not a sign of weakness or not being “normal”, talking can show strength in recognising you need help and support and talking is the first step.”
Sue continues with her mental health training and has recently completed an online course, a Level 2 qualification in Children and Young Peoples Mental Health and a TQUK Level 2 in Self-harm and Suicide Prevention course.
Since Sue embarked on her mental health training other members of the team have also taken training to increase their awareness, and enable them not only to support colleagues, but to also be more aware of their own mental health and that of their friends and families.
We are so lucky to have Sue in the team at Sutcliffe and we hope her actions to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace will inspire other companies to do the same. On Blue Monday we congratulate Sue for all her achievements as the Mental Health First Aider at Sutcliffe & Co.