We hope that in sharing our stories and insights we help others to understand the impact of mental health issues, recognise the signs and provide signposts for the support options available.
Poor mental health can affect most of us to different degrees throughout our lives, either first hand or by impacting someone close. At HappyMaven, we actively encourage talking about mental health with the same comfort as we do about physical health in the workplace and with that in mind, this month’s issue of HappyNews is dedicated to highlighting positive stories about mental health.
New recruitment drive to help 10,000 people with serious mental illness
The UK government has this week announced that mental health charity Think Ahead has been awarded a £27 million funding boost to expand their mental health social work graduate programme. Think Ahead graduate participants will undergo an intensive 2-year programme that blends on-the-job experience with academic learning and leadership training. Participants become qualified after their first year on the programme, and complete a master’s degree during their second year. The recruits are trained to provide psychological and practical support to help people with serious mental illness, such as severe depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and address issues such as relationships, housing and employment, which can have a huge bearing on mental wellbeing.
Headlands School welcomes a pack of alpacas to aid student mental health
Headlands School in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan has recently welcomed four Peruvian alpacas to aid student wellbeing, alongside their resident companion dog, Dexter. The school, which is run by the charity Action for Children, caters mainly for residential – and some day pupils – who have behavioural and learning difficulties. Where some pupils have been previously unengaged in academic work, they have relished the physical work and the autonomy given by building and maintaining the animal’s space. Teachers believe that the mental health of students has definitely improved, and the work with animals has inspired some to pursue a career in the outdoors.
Unilever’s Lamplighter Programme
As a worldwide business with over 155,000 members of staff, Unilever’s employee wellbeing approach reflects their status as a top employer. Unilever’s award-winning Lamplighter Programme, operating in 46 countries, is an innovative approach to employee wellness that uses health risk appraisals alongside exercise, nutrition and mental resilience to help employees improve their health and wellbeing. Unilever priorises mental health as one of their top three health issues and is a central focus of their Lamplighter programme, which recognises that mental health is especially important in times of change or uncertainty. Unilever believes that leadership, management, communication and culture are key to delivering their successful mental health initiatives.
This year, thousands of students will be heading off to university amidst a pandemic with an uncertain economic climate ahead of them. For many, university is the first time living independently away from established networks of support. In adjusting to the student lifestyle, many struggle to maintain healthy routines and experience academic, social and financial pressures. In fact, roughly a third of students report psychological distress during these years. University is a ‘workplace’ for students, and wellbeing for those within the workplace should be approached in the same way a corporate workplace would. Student Minds is a charity to support those struggling with mental health issues including loneliness, burnout, stress and all other related pressures induced by the environment of university. Read more about the state of student mental health in this recent article: “As someone who struggled with their mental health at university, I’m worried about the reality students are facing”
‘It’s okay not to be okay’ Free support available for people struggling with mental health at work
Part-funded by European Social Funding through the Welsh Government, the “Wellbeing through Work” Support Service provides free support for employees and businesses in South Wales. Wellbeing through Work is a free and confidential service which has NHS therapists who can provide support to improve physical and mental health. The programme not only supports employees, with one-to-one support, but it also provides resources for employers and managers who require support to mitigate the additional challenges that have been brought to our physical and mental health by the pandemic.
Supporting your people, whether they’re employees, students or a community with their mental health is essential to maintain a happy, resilient and productive team. At HappyMaven, we are positioned to consult, strategise and create bespoke programmes, action plans and support with the delivery at board level, across people teams and beyond. Get in touch with us to start your journey to better business.
Remember: We ALL have mental health.