- by Joanna
Mental Health Awareness Week
Reflect Digital is on a mission to improve staff wellbeing this Mental Health Awareness Week.
The Maidstone-based company will be running several sessions to encourage colleagues to explore the link between mental and physical wellbeing, connect, and support them to start new, healthy habits.
It comes 6 months after CEO, Becky Simms, introduced a 4 Day Work Week for all team members in a bid to improve productivity and happiness among team members.
Figures measured by Office Vibes show that staff wellness has increased by 26% at the company since October while job satisfaction and relationships with peers all improved significantly, with overall happiness increasing by 38%.
According to Mind at least one in six workers experience common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression across the UK. They also say:
- More than one in five (21 per cent) said they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them
- 14 per cent agreed that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them
- 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’
- 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel they have the right training or guidance
In March both Becky and Mike Steer, Head of Technical at the company, attended a mental health first aider course in a bid to understand mental health issues and factors that can improve wellbeing.
Off the back of that, they’ll now be carrying out sessions to encourage staff to talk openly about their mental wellbeing should they want to.
“The first MHFA instructor training courses were developed almost 10 years ago.
“It’s licenced in 25 countries, and over 2.6 million people have now been trained as instructors.
“The course covered a wide range of topics from depression, anxiety and panic attacks, to psychosis, self-harm and suicide.
“In essence, our job is to identify and support those with mental health issues and to provide assistance in getting further professional support where required.”
“As employers Reflect is committed to having a passionate and enthused workforce. And part of making that a reality is by ensuring they are healthy (both physically and mentally).
“It’s also hugely important to identify any potential mental health issues early, as left untreated, symptoms can worsen over time and become more difficult to treat.
“The course gave us practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues, confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress, enhanced interpersonal skills, and knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support - whether that’s self-help resources, through their employer, the NHS, or a mixture.
“My advice to anyone who might be struggling with their mental health would be to speak to someone - if you’re comfortable to do so.
“If you have a MHFA at work, then they will be uniquely trained to listen and help advise on the best way forward.
“If not, then someone you feel comfortable talking to in confidence.
“It may not be someone at work - it could be a family member or a friend, but either way, sharing your concerns, and having an open conversation about it could help point you in the direction to seek further support.”
This week Reflect Digital will also be taking part in Mental Health Awareness Week by running several sessions to encourage colleagues to connect and support them to start new, healthy habits.
Hannah Rainey, SEO Executive at Reflect Digital, suffers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She said:
“I’ve worked hard to establish a real distinction between work and home in my mind, which is something that I think is really important.
“I’ve always found that going to work has been quite helpful for my mental health but we also have to understand that there are some days in which this can be really, really difficult for people - myself included.
“I think it comes down to understanding that mental illness doesn’t ‘discriminate’ and you have to just let this be the case, because it is.
“There are some mornings in which I wake up raring to go and others in which I experience real anxiety - and it’s often nothing to do with my job. It’s just the nature of living life with post-traumatic-stress-disorder, and I have to understand that to be able to learn to manage it.
“I recognised a couple of years ago that I had to make changes to my lifestyle and a shift in mindset would need to happen in order to take better care of myself at work.
“I think there’s a real expectation of people - especially in our twenties - to be working every hour we’ve got and, I guess there’s a sort of competition between people - who can work harder? Who can work longer? And to be honest, I don’t care for this attitude or approach. I make sure I take breaks, I try to walk during lunch, I try to establish a home/work balance.
“As long as I get my work done on time and to a high standard, fine.
“I have tried to understand and accept that it’s OK for my mental health to take priority - I stand by this, and I wouldn’t say I’m any less successful for it.
“I also think it’s really important that we all try to understand the impact we can have on others - both positively and negatively - inside and outside of the workplace.
“We have to recognise that we can’t always directly help others (to resolve a situation, for example), but we can absolutely affect their emotions. I believe that people should make an effort to help each other feel supported and cared for, because you just don’t know the difference that your five-minute conversation can have on somebody’s life.
If anyone is struggling, my advice would be to seek help in any areas in which you can, if you feel able. And it doesn’t have to be long-term, professional help if that isn’t what you want (or need) at the moment - Samaritans provide 24/7 support online and via phone, and there is a lot of helpful content available online from Mind and Time to Change.
“I can write about how going for walks at lunchtime is helpful - and it is - but you have to be willing to address underlying conditions or experiences as part of that.
“Let people support you and encourage them to do so, and try to be open with your employer if you feel that you can. Then go for walks at lunch!
“Take breaks, hydrate and take genuine care of yourself to prevent burnout.”