Monday, 10th May 2021 marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week.
One in four of us have been impacted by a mental health problem and statistics have increased due to the ongoing effects of Covid-19. However, we still fear talking about our problems and starting conversations that could potentially save a life.
Local charity Pioneering Care Partnership (PCP) have taken extra measures to protect the mental health of staff members whilst everyone has been working from home. PCP staff members had the opportunity to take part in a day of training to become a Mental Health First Aider. The course first taught staff how to be more open about their own feelings before they could help another person talk about their emotions. The training helped staff to detect warning signs of mental health issues within a person, and the best way to help that individual access professional help. Currently, six staff members are acting as Mental Health First Aiders for PCP and this training will be rolled out again for more staff to get on board.
Without any social interaction with our work friends for many months, working from home has led to Microsoft Teams meetings becoming the new normal. However, staff members have created Teams meetings during work hours for a general catch-up with one another. Ensuring no one is over worked and everyone is as positive as they can be during these difficult times has been a big help for PCP staff members.
Home-working can often encourage a person to work over their contracted hours, as it can be hard to switch off work mode and relax. During Stress Awareness Month, staff have been encouraged to regularly take a minimum of 10-minute breaks away from their screen, as well take two hours a week of dedicated wellbeing time – to log off early, extend a lunch break, walk the dog or simply have a breather or a nap, allowing everyone to work to the best of their ability.
As well as looking after the mental health of staff, Pioneering Care Partnership launched a new project in late 2020, Every Call Counts. The service aims to promote healthier lining, independence and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Befrienders offer practical support to build confidence and allow the individual to openly discuss their problems, as sometimes it can be easier to talk to a stranger.
It is so important to talk about our feelings to maintain positive mental health. If you, or someone you or someone you know is seeking mental health support please visit the NHS, Mind or contact the Samaritans.