Published date: 13 May 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week: A moment with Dave Kovar

Supporting and investing in our mental and physical health has never been more important, the current pandemic has created significant challenges. There has been and will continue to be an impact on mental health for the population in general but particularly for NHS.

NHS Property Services is aiming to create a workplace where we are all more aware of our own mental health, where we know how to proactively look after our wellbeing and support others.

That’s why NHSPS is currently running a pilot Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course. This is run by Mental Health First Aid England and teaches people skills about how to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis or before one happens, and gives people the confidence to support someone else. Find out more here. We’ll then be looking to roll it out more widely over summer and launching the network in autumn.

Dave Kovar, FM Office Team Leader, is currently taking part in the training and shares his thoughts on how it’s going, this Mental Health Awareness Week.

An interview with...

Over the past year, the conversation about mental health has become more prominent in society due to COVID-19.  What do you think are the benefits of people speaking openly about mental health? 

Anything we can do to promote positive mental health has to be a benefit to all of us.  Covid-19 has caused a lot of people to ‘bump’ into mental health issues and poor coping mechanisms that have worked to a limited degree in the past, but they’ve also kept them from reaching their full potential and enjoying life to the max.  It’s a bit like that old recruiting slogan, “To be all you can be.”

Why are you taking part in the mental health first training? 

Several people I work with have been struggling with ill physical and mental health (…and mental and physical health are inextricably linked.)  Anything I can learn to help them help themselves is part of the reason.  The other part is purely, but I think ‘healthily selfish’, in that I want to make the most of my mental health while I can.

How do you think having this training within NHS Property Services will impact the conversation around mental health within the company

My hope is that conversations around mental health within our organisation will be like conversations about diversity and inclusion…all to help us reach our best!  We have such a wealth of skills, talents, and training within the company, that the cross-fertilisation of ideas will genuinely benefit everyone.  Talking about mental health can only be a good thing for all of us. 

How do you think the training will benefit you and the people around you? 

I think it will give us a greater understanding and acceptance of the issues we all face…be they situational, environmental, or genetic.  We all have devils we’re wrestling with.  Some people are more successful at it than others.  My hope is that by training MHFA-ers, we’ll have advocates and assistance for everyone company wide.

Colleague wellbeing handbook

We’d like to create a workplace where we are all more aware of our own mental health, where we know how to proactively look after our wellbeing, and where we are well equipped to have conversations around mental health and support each other. Take a look at our colleague handbook to find out how we're supporting our people.