CTS are supporting the World Mental Health Day (10th October) 2021 campaign, ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’.
Many people with a mental illness do not receive the treatment they are entitled to and deserve and together with their families and carers continue to experience stigma and discrimination. The gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ grows ever wider and there is continuing unmet need in the care of people with a mental health problem. (Professor Gabriel Ivbijaro MBE JP, https://bit.ly/3Fi0f2e)
We believe that everyone’s mental health is equally important across the CTS Group, and we are committed to creating a mentally healthy workplace with a positive working culture and creating a place where everyone feels supported and comfortable discussing mental health, giving all our people equal opportunities to access the support they need.
Why Is World Mental Health Day Important?
Surprisingly, one in four of us is likely to be experiencing a mental health condition right now, however, everyone will experience mental health struggles at some stage in their lives. In addition, with two construction workers completing suicide every working day, CTS feel strongly that we should all help each other to prevent, support and manage mental ill-health.
In support of World Mental Health Day, we asked colleagues Chris, Hayley and Jo why they became Mental Health First Aiders for the CTS Group and what it means to them.
Chris Holt & Hayley Davison – The MHFA course gave us a good insight into what other people (and ourselves) may have been / be going through: Quite simply, we never know exactly what is truly going on with anyone. It made us realise that at times we may have been impatient and not shown any level of understanding or empathy. On the whole though, we are empathetic people and believe we are very approachable, good listeners.
As Wellbeing Leads some people may think that our job is just to put up posters round the sites and organise events – a bit of box ticking exercise to make CTS look good as a company. This is far from the case. We have regular meetings to discuss updates to staff benefits and how we can make improvements within our remit and budget etc. Aside from the meetings and events, we offer a supportive and sympathetic ear to anyone who reaches out to us. We are definitely not qualified counsellors, but we do have a bit more insight and readily available information that we can pass on. We have always made time for anyone who has reached out. Quite often a staff member’s line manager will be the one who gets in touch with us, and we then take the individual somewhere quiet for a confidential and supportive chat. We never put a time limit on offering support and always check back in with the person at a later date to see how they’re getting on now.
We hope that being Wellbeing Leads has made a difference to the morale and health and wellbeing of our colleagues.
Jo Strange – Keeping everyone safe, healthy and happy is important to me, both professionally and personally.
I have had crisis times in my life, when having someone available who I trusted, who listened and supported made a big difference. Everyone should have that safety net.
Frankly, the mental health statistics are shocking. If I / we can assist and support someone early doors whilst a problem is small and manageable with the right help, we might stop them becoming part of the distressing statistics.
The more of us are involved and trained and spread the message that ‘it’s ok to not be ok’, the less stigma will be attached to having a mental health issue of any sort and seeking appropriate help. We don’t hesitate to put a plaster or bandage on a wound, but how many refuse to say….’I’m struggling a bit here’… We can spread the word, that gives people permission to allow themselves to seek help, when needed.
We can also put in place or encourage positive activities to help maintain and promote good mental health, such as outside activities, social gatherings, coffee break chats, time outs, without any obvious mental health improvement labels. The more we can interact, the more we are aware of ourselves and our colleagues and the more chance we have to spot a problem and get it sorted appropriately.
CTS’s long-term commitment to support everyone’s mental health has seen a programme of initiatives over the last 18 months including, becoming a Lighthouse Club charity supporter, signing the Building Mental Health Charter and training 40 colleagues to become Mental Health First Aiders.
Carolyn Cole, HR Director and Mental Health First Aid Instructor commented – “We all have mental health, understanding this is incredibly important. My hope is that all of our colleagues across the CTS Group have the opportunity to seek support when needed. In training 40 Mental Health First Aiders and having at least one person on every site trained, we want to make sure that support is accessible for everyone should it be needed. We are also ensuring every manager and supervisor has received training too so they have the tools and understanding to have open conversations, helping to break down the stigma around mental health. We have seen some incredibly positive responses to our programme so far but it is a journey, and we will continue to progress and raise awareness of the support available to colleagues in the coming months.”