Mental Health issues – none of us is immune

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and it’s never been more important.

This year’s theme is kindness.

And with the whole world trying to catch its breath, ‘kind’ is more important than ever.

We have no idea what friends, colleagues and even those closest to us might have been feeling or dealing with in the past few weeks, as we all adjust to a whole new way of life. Anxiety, depression, euphoria, an increase in or easing off of pressure; a new work/life balance; increased or lack of trust in employers and authority, and mass bereavement are just a few of the lenses through which we’re all trying to make sense of the way we work.

I write this as a COVID-19 survivor. And not just a sniffle and a sore throat. Thanks to our superb NHS, and one doctor in particular, I’m on the road to recovery. At my lowest point, I didn’t think I’d be here to write this today. I’ve been scared for myself, my loved ones and my colleagues and it’s educated my perspective on a number of things.

That’s why I’m more passionate than ever about protecting individuals’ mental health as we move through this pandemic: I know from experience the effect it can have.

Those of us working in the health profession have always known there’s no such thing as ‘normal’.

So what can we do, using this vital awareness week, to help start discussions and open dialogue to make sure we are attuned to the needs of those with whom we work? How can we make sure we recognise each one as an individual and use this understanding as a building block to create the foundations of a productive, progressive working relationship?

Express Medicals has always offered a mental health programme alongside our physical occupational health offering. Changing working patterns over the past couple of months have meant we’ve had time to focus and redesign that programme. We’re now proud to offer a wider range of services to give companies the broadest possible choice of support. Our Employee Assistance Programme is now complemented by a range of workshops, online resources, fact sheets and webinars thanks to our close working partnership with Westfield Health.

We’ve also refined our partnership with Sue Firth, a leading business psychologist and broadcaster, who provides advice, counselling and support for senior managers and C-suite employers. Sue’s expertise can help those who need strategies to help with communications, employment decisions, restructuring and goal-setting while maintaining their own mental equilibrium.

We welcome the chance to talk to all our clients at any time, and will be making special efforts to ask them about their own and their staff’s mental health this week.

The Zero Suicide Alliance has reported that more than half a million people have accessed training to prevent suicide in the past three weeks; NHS England launched a mental health hotline to support staff last month.

None of us is immune to issues with mental health.

Be kind – and if you need support, ask.

We’re always happy to have a conversation.

Dan Hegarty

CEO

Express Medicals Ltd