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‘It’s ok not to be ok’ is a phrase that is now widely promoted and supported by charities, companies and celebrities throughout the World. Awareness of mental wellbeing is now recognised as being as important as a physical illness or disability, the difference as we all know is that the signs aren’t always visible and often go un-noticed until sadly it can be too late.
The introduction of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service at Webtec is a vital part of our organisation. The team members Jane Giddings, Emma Wood, Diego Cossio, Connor Brokenshire and Sam Thompson are based in the UK, but this support network is available to all our global colleagues. Each of the team members has their own personal reasons for championing this service and both Jane and Emma have openly shared their stories with their colleagues
Currently mental health awareness is being promoted using posters, Yammer and internal communications. All employees have free access to our Unum Service, where advice on stress management and mental wellbeing is available either on-line or by telephone and is a confidential service.
The group is designing a service that allows Webtec colleagues to talk to their Manager, HR or a trained Peer Support Volunteer (mental health first aider) giving individuals the option to choose who they most feel comfortable talking to.
Caring for others such as supporting a colleague who can be working or off-work, active listening and managing your own feelings are all areas that will all be covered in the awareness training that is being planned. Further training will also be available for anyone who is interested in offering their services as a Peer Support Volunteer, this will allow individuals to offer a support service to colleagues that want to talk. This additional training isn’t just for employees who manage teams, it is for anyone that has a genuine interest in helping and supporting others and understands the importance of empathy and confidentiality. The Peer Support Volunteers will not be trained counsellors, but they will be able to help and signpost where appropriate.
The team has already noticed that more colleagues are now being open about sharing experiences and discussing mental health concerns. While the complete service is being set-up, although not trained councillors or mental health first aiders, the team members are always available for a confidential chat or to give help to access the current services available.