Our Mental Health Supporters share their personal stories for Mental Health Awareness Week

22 May 2020
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Photos of Julia Prosina, Bradley Barlow, Pauline Sharp and Signija Elms above a green ribbon

Left to right: Julia Prosina, Bradley Barlow, Pauline Sharp and Signija Elms

Our team of Mental Health Supporters are available to everyone across our company to listen to what’s on our colleagues’ minds and point them in the right direction to get the help they might need. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, they’ve been sharing their personal stories to encourage our colleagues to reach out for support.

Julia Prosina, TMA Planner, says that being a Mental Health Supporter is one of the reasons she’s proud to work for us and spoke about the importance of their role in the company. Julia said: “As Mental Health Supporters we are trying to diminish the negative stigma around mental health and encourage our fellow colleagues to use us when they’re in need. Sometimes it’s hard to realise that you’re struggling until someone asks you if you’re ok. I’ve had many heart-to-heart conversations with my colleagues that started with a simple ‘Hey, are you ok today?’ and I try my best to make sure that they feel safe and confident by talking to me.”

Bradley Barlow, Communications Officer, said that the people he’d spoken with wanted reassurance that someone else had been as low as they were currently feeling and managed to get through it. Bradley said: “Although the focus is very much on listening to what they want and need to say, one of the ways I try to help is to share my personal experience with them with as much honesty as possible. No matter how moderate or severe your life experiences, we’ve all had good days and low points. We’ve all got life experiences that others can identify with.”

Graphical Data Editor Pauline Sharp reiterated the importance of staying connected with other people, especially during COVID-19. She said: “Make sure to keep in touch with people who care for you and know who you can contact for support if your mental health declines. By talking, it can take the power away from those dark feelings and then by having that extra support you’re taking care of your own wellbeing. Technology is such these days that we can keep in touch with colleagues and family and friends, through different mediums.”

Signija Elms, one of our HR Managers, said: “Incredibly, it was a year ago that we recruited and trained the first 70 Mental Health Supporters. I’m proud to say that we now have around 90 Mental Health Supporters in place across all areas of the business and they have been helping their colleagues ever since they were introduced.”

“Our colleagues have reached out to our Supporters for many different reasons, but mainly because they wanted to speak to a friendly and approachable colleague, who has been trained to listen, and to direct colleagues in need to an appropriate source of help. I would like to personally thank each of our Mental Health Supporters for supporting more than 100 colleagues who have reached out to them over the past year.”