WHEN STICKING A PLASTER ON IT JUST ISN'T ENOUGH
Last month we introduced our Stay Well Ambassadors - just one of the many ways that we’re supporting our colleagues’ wellbeing in the workplace. In addition to colleagues supporting our teams in this way we’re also proud of our nationwide squad of Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) - colleagues throughout the business who support other colleagues if they need to discuss concerns regarding their mental health. 

Similarly to how we train our Medical First Aiders, all Mental Health First Aiders have regular training to equip them with the knowledge and skills to be able to be a first line of colleague support for their mental health at a local level.    

They are trained to listen without judgement, and provide help where and when needed.  Colleagues are easily accessible, and are currently making sure colleagues across the business know who they are and how to get in touch with them. 

Karen Horsley, Programme Manager in the Commercial department at Keyline, shares why she became a MHFA and what she hopes to achieve in her role. 

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AIDER?  

To be honest, I jumped at the chance – the MHFA scheme is such a positive way that Keyline is helping to ensure there is support at all levels for all colleagues. It’s so important that we all consider mental health as important as physical health given the extent that mental health issues can impact our lives and wellbeing.  

Our line managers and internal communications frequently reminds us all, as Keyline colleagues and ‘people’ with friends and family, of the importance to talk and ask for help if we feel that we need it – and I wanted to be a MHFA so that I had more confidence when it comes to approaching somebody who appears to be struggling with a mental health issue; so that I could support colleagues in the right way.  

I have been in situations in the past when I know I could have handled it differently, if I had already been through the MHFA training.  I wanted colleagues to similarly feel confident that they could open up to me with no judgement.

It’s not always easy to know where to go for support, but with MHFA’s as part of Keyline this is an area that we can really help with. 

 

TELL US MORE ABOUT THE TRAINING  

The training from Mental Health First Aid England is intense and you cover a lot of hard topics like suicide, psychosis, eating disorders and alcoholism, and more in the different modules. I found it  so well put together and very constructive in terms of how issues are dealt with.     

The modules are really good at bringing subjects to life and talking subjects and scenarios through in groups means we can test our understanding and increase our confidence on how we would approach a given situation. The trainer we work with is a fantastic mental health professional - who doesn’t just talk ‘theory’, but gives real life examples so that we can really understand how to manage similar situations.  

It guides us to not only spot the signs but to know what to do if intervention is needed. 

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE IN THIS ROLE? 

It really is ‘to help’, not only individuals but Keyline in its drive to ensure everyone who is part of the Keyline family knows we’re here to support ‘their whole selves’. 

Personally, I also want to help reduce any stigma around mental health, and to promote the benefits that even a chat over a coffee can have.  I have been in a situation twice after life events where I didn't open up or know where to go for support, so I want to help others not be in that same situation and get the help they need as soon as possible. 

I have already had colleagues approach me who wanted to talk since completing the training as they knew I was a MHFA.  For one of them it was the first time they had spoken about an issue they've had for many years but had hidden at work.  I've been able to support them and provide details  of some more formal support and they have taken it.    

Great work Karen, thanks for being one of our MHFA’s and helping our colleagues to their best selves. Watch Karen’s video here to find out more.
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