Looking after your mental health

Posted on Fri, 23/08/2019 by Kerry Gowland

In this week’s blog Kerry Gowland from the workforce department talks about how the organisation is supporting staff when it comes to their mental health.

As an NHS healthcare organisation we’re all very aware of the risks around our physical health but what about our mental health and the toll that working for a health trust can place on our staff?

Mental health has been in the headlines a lot recently and around 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people said they had experienced a common mental health problem (such as anxiety or depression) in any given week.

With approximately 4,200 people working in our organisation that means as many as 1,020 of us could be experiencing a mental health problem each year.

Too often, people can feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health but in Gateshead we are trying to end this fear of prejudice or judgement and raise awareness of the importance of opening up conversations with colleagues about their mental health.

Often just one conversation or a few words can make all the difference to a colleagues day, week or life.

The Occupational Health and Health and Well Being teams are continuing to work hard this year to raise awareness and provide some practical solutions.

So what can you do, and what is available to you and your colleagues?

One of the easiest and most effective ways of supporting colleagues is to ask questions and really listen. MINDhave created some questions which help you open up a conversation with a colleague you are concerned about and there are five of these below. Use them with a colleague and see how it goes.

  1. What helps you stay mentally healthy at work?
  2. Are there any early warning signs that we might notice when you are starting to experience poor mental health?
  3. If we notice early warning signs that you are experiencing poor mental health – what support could you and your manager put in place?
  4. What steps can you take if you start to experience poor mental health at work?
  5. Is there anything else that you would like to share?

As well as this a Stress Risk Assessment is available on the Intranet and many line managers have also used a Well Being Plan promoted by MIND. If you want to understand more about this please contact the HR Advisor Team.

Our Staff and Liaison Service (SALS) includes access to counselling and we have employed a number of bank counsellors in June this year to ensure as many staff that need this type of support have access to it.

We have now a number of Mental Health First Aiders across the Trust, the last round of training for these colleagues took place last month.

Large national organisations such as MIND, Mental Health Foundation, SANE, Rethink Mental Illness and Heads Togetherhave some amazing resources for senior managers, line managers and employees.

At Gateshead we are committed to supporting all colleagues to be the healthiest they can be, in every way, in and out of work, for themselves, for others and for patients. So please remember to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health.

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link.
Accept Cookies