How do you start a conversation about mental health with someone you suspect might be struggling with theirs?
We teamed-up with our charity partner, Mental Health UK, to run some introductory sessions designed to help our colleagues start those potentially tricky conversations with each other.
The sessions focused on understanding what mental health is, the importance of supportive conversations and the do’s and don’ts of how to approach them. They also provided colleagues with a list of questions to help start and maintain a discussion and pointers on how to behave.
“We want to support our colleagues as much as we can,” said Skipton’s Sustainability Lead, Abi Wallbank. “That means having a robust well-being plan in place and providing resources that give colleagues a platform to talk and learn new skills.
“Having this basic understanding of mental health increases our level of self-awareness, so we can understand what signs to look for in others. Sometimes that means venturing into uncomfortable territory, especially if someone’s already said they’re fine.”
What colleagues said
As a result of the sessions some colleagues said they felt less isolated, while for others the sessions raised awareness of how widespread mental health issues can be.
“The forum allowed a safe way to express personal views, as well as get advice from other colleagues through their own experiences.”
“Nice to hear and see that others thought about the various topics/questions raised, as it made me feel like I wasn't alone in being a little nervous about talking to people about these things.”
“The level of engagement was extremely positive and shows how widespread matters can be surrounding mental health.”
“This was a great introduction that highlighted many ways I can improve conversations with others. It also helped me with ways to consider how I speak with my own manager about my own mental health.”