Mental Health at The Nursery

Mental health issues are common, and everyone can be affected, regardless of age, gender, background, economic status or lifestyle. Here at The Nursery we have worked to build a safe and caring environment where people feel comfortable talking around their mental health. Recognising that it is ok to sometimes struggle and having the support in place has been an important focus for all of us.

We (Philippa Harvey and Kelvin Charles, Partner’s at The Nursery) have completed the required training and now act as mental health first aiders for the company. We wanted to share what the role entails and how we offer help to our partners.

So, what does a mental health first aider actually do? The training we have undertaken helps us to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and help to identify somebody who may be going through a difficult time and in need of some support. We act as the supporting pillars within the company for anyone who finds themselves suffering from a mental health issue or emotional distress. We are here to listen, without judgement and signpost the person to access appropriate help or self-help.

We want to encourage people to check-in with themselves regularly and be able to spot the early signs of distress.  This awareness and acting upon it can really help prevent an escalation of problems. We are always on hand for a chat, it doesn’t have to be a big problem and it goes without saying that these conversations are confidential, the only caveat being if there were a concern over someone’s safety.

We aim to provide a listening ear whilst also offering tangible tips to encourage better mental health amongst our partners. The stigma associated with mental health in the workplace often prevents people from offloading and therefore prevents them from getting the help they need. Many are simply unsure on how and where to seek help, and some are not well informed in understanding how to recognise mental health issues and what effective treatments are available.

It is our aim to encourage people to talk freely about mental health and help create an inclusive and open culture. Over the past few months, we have held several breakfast sessions, where members of the team can take a few minutes away from their laptops, have a cuppa and chat with their colleagues. It was heartening hearing several people talking about their own personal mental health experiences. As we never expect people to share their experiences, we can only build a safe environment for them to do so if they feel comfortable.

Mental Health was a focus of the company’s EDI team in May and a program of activities and resources were  shared with all company Partners, from webinars to online learning, as well as suggestions for things to read, watch and listen to.  We also recently shared further resources on World Mental Health Awareness Day; we feel its so important to remind people to take the time to look after their mental health – promoting and looking after your mental fitness is just as important as your physical fitness.

Having said all this, it is also important to add that it’s not just the MHFA’s responsibility to identify, assess or offer support, it’s a collective responsibility for all of us  to notice the, sometimes small signs, and be on hand to help and support each other. We can all be that person to talk to.

Finally, we thought we’d share some of our best tips and tricks:

·       Don’t sweat the small stuff, be aware of your feelings and what you need to do.

·       Check-in with yourself regularly, note how you are feeling.

·       Build your own personal tool kit! Strategies include: meditation, walks in nature, exercise, talking with a friend, a long hot bath, journaling. Work out what works best for you.  Having these strategies can be empowering when you are struggling.

·       Be kind to yourself. Be aware of how you talk to yourself. We can often be our own harshest critic and this negative self-talk can exacerbate our mental health issues. The power of self-compassion is desperately underestimated.

·       Remember it is not a sign of weakness if you are having difficulties. Reach out to someone.  What’s the old saying? A problem share is a problem halved.

It really is good to talk!