Published date: 08 December 2021

Launching our Mental Health First Aid network

Throughout 2021, we have partnered with Mental Health First Aid England to train colleagues across NHS Property Services to identify the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and encourage each other in accessing the right support.

We all go through times when life can get on top of us. Did you know that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience poor mental health at some point, and many conditions can be treated effectively at low cost, yet the gap between people needing help and those able to access it remains significant?

With spending so much of our waking hours at work, it’s essential that we create a supportive workplace where everyone can thrive, which is why I’m really pleased to announce the launch of our first Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) network.

Throughout the remainder of 2021 and in early 2022, colleagues will be introduced to our MHFAs - colleagues who are now professionally trained to provide support and guidance to anyone who may be struggling with mental or emotional distress to help them access support. Our MHFAs will also act as advocates to promote wellbeing, helping to reduce stigmas and enact positive change within our organisation.

Remember, it’s important we talk about mental health in the same way as our physical health. After all, one cannot work successfully without the other.

Through taking steps to proactively look after our wellbeing we can better manage daily pressures and challenges sent our way, ultimately building our emotional resilience.

It's been great to see so many of our colleagues actively engaging in our regular wellbeing webinars. Since the start of the pandemic, we've hosted over 35 wellbeing webinars on topics including managing stress, mindfulness, managing anxiety, nutrition and financial wellbeing. Webinars are usually at lunchtime but any colleague that can't make it can find them on our Wellbeing Webinar library on the intranet.

We have also recently launched Mental Health Awareness Training sessions for managers available to book via our internal learning zone. Managers are likely to be the first point of contact for a colleague in a crisis, so we aim to ensure they feel empowered to support their teams, have conversations around mental health, and be able to spot any potential issues as they arise.

Finally, I just want to say that the most important thing you can say to someone struggling is “I’m here for you”. Actively listen to them and encourage them speak to someone. Also, for NHSPS colleagues, you can remind them that all colleagues have access to our Employee Assistance Programme for free, designed to help with personal problems, life and overall health and wellbeing. 

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.

Read the handbook