Towards the end of 2019, Tilhill recognised that more could be done to support the mental health of its staff and contractors.
The decision was taken to train selected individuals to be Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA). This decision has been made all the more relevant in this time of significant uncertainty caused by the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
It is important to understand that we all have mental health and, just like our physical health, it needs looking after to ensure we stay well.
There are a number of ways to promote good mental health, including:
- Talking to people when you feel troubled is a powerful tool to help maintain good mental health. Sharing your thoughts and concerns is not a sign of weakness or failure but is about you taking charge of your wellbeing. Verbalising emotions and feelings isn’t always easy but this doesn’t mean it’s something to avoid.
- Getting some regular exercise – doesn’t have to be vigorous – is a well-established way of boosting self- esteem, can help you concentrate and generally feel good.
- Eating well has a big impact on your brain’s Ensuring you have a mix of nutrients, in the same way as eating to ensure good physical health, helps the brain function well.
- Drinking alcohol has a big impact on your mental Alcohol affects your mood and is sometimes used to mask difficulties people are feeling.
- Accepting that we all need help sometimes and feeling comfortable about asking for it. This is sometimes easier said than done but it is true – none of us are superhuman and reaching out to someone you trust for help could be beneficial.
The Tilhill MHFAs have volunteered to be a first point of contact for Tilhill staff and our Contractors out on site who may feel the need for a sympathetic and supportive chat in strict confidence. It is important to understand that our trained staff are not counsellors but are aware of the challenges and sensitivities often experienced by people who may be experiencing mental health issues. The MHFA will take time to listen, support and signpost people to additional support for those in need during working hours. In order to help raise the profile of this support network and assist you in being able to identify them on site, the MHFAs will have a purple sticker on the side of their hard hats.
There’s now a link on the landing page of the company’s intranet page which gives staff a list of all the Mental Health First Aiders together with their contact details. Included here also are the details of external sources of support and information. A similar page has also been added to the Tilhill Contractor Portal.
There’s no question that the coming weeks and months will be difficult, and the most trying times are still ahead. No one can say for certain how long this pandemic will last or when our lives will get back to normal. However, if we take good care of ourselves and each other, we can emerge from this crisis more resilient and mentally stronger than ever before. It is easy to get overwhelmed in our own pattern of negative thoughts, so talking these through can help break those cycles.