As a tough working class Glaswegian I was brought up with the expectation that nothing would keep me down for long. Weakness was not an option. It is something that I have carried with me in to adult life, and even today I tell myself to ‘pick yourself up and dust yourself down’, essentially just get on with life.
This week I attended a full-day course run by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England with 14 colleagues from Ketchum London. I am now a qualified mental health first aid champion. I’m more equipped to identify the signs that someone might be struggling, to know what support is available to those who need it, and to further develop a culture where it is ok to speak up about mental and physical health.
What struck me during the course is how important it is to promote physical and mental well-being, and that is why I am so proud of our Wellness Wednesday programme. This was a programme that was thought up, developed, and implemented by a member of staff – Chanté Plom, with the support of the Senior Leadership team.
From health checks, to yoga, to mindfulness, smart living workshops, and fitness coaching the programme is designed to encourage wellness at work. It is also designed to make mental health a subject that is openly discussed, and there are information points throughout the office if our people need to seek professional support.
The top tips for promoting well-being from MHFA are really good anchor points for living a fulfilled life:
- Connect: spend quality time with family, friends, colleagues. The connections you make and nurture will support and enrich you on a daily basis.
- Be active: exercising makes us feel good. Find something you enjoy and build it in to your daily life.
- Take notice: a flower, new street art, the changing weather, the taste of your lunch – savour these moments every day. Keep your head up and appreciate your surroundings and the small every day things that matter.
- Keep learning: Set yourself challenges, at home and at work, that you are going to enjoy achieving. Learning new things is both enjoyable and confidence boosting.
- Give: an act of kindness brings joy to you and the people around you. Volunteering in your local community, fundraising, or even just offering someone a smile or to make a cup of tea can be incredibly rewarding.
Work is such a dominant part of our everyday lives and if we are to maintain the high performing culture we have at Ketchum in London, it is critical that we integrate well-being in to our working lives.
As someone who has a lot of resilience and over-indexes on the optimistic side of life, this course reinforced that everyone is different, and many people can’t ‘just pick themselves up’. People need support from those around them, and sometimes need professional help. There shouldn’t be any stigma attached to talking about health (mental or physical), and there certainly shouldn’t be any stigma attached to asking for help.
If you want to find out more about MHFA England: https://mhfaengland.org/