Dr Hazel Harrison has been collaborating with Unmind since just after we launched. We thought we'd catch up with Hazel to find out a little bit about her and her most recent Unmind Series, "Getting Gritty"...
How are you?”
Many of us will answer “fine”, even when we’re not.
Today is Time to Talk day 2018, a campaign to highlight that anywhere can be the right place to talk about mental health, including at work.
Too often, mental health problems are treated as a taboo – something not to be talked about, especially at work (we’re more likely to talk about money or relationship problems). However, we all have mental health, all of the time and whether we’re thriving or surviving – we should feel able to talk about it.
Taboo. Discrimination. Shame. Stigma. Fear. You name it! But things are changing. Let’s take today as an opportunity to focus on communication and the importance of listening within this.
My name’s Daisy and I work with our client-base to make sure that their employees get the most out of their experience of Unmind. More recently, we’ve been discussing Time to Talk Day and the important role of workplace culture on mental health – in particular around being more candid about it.
At work, we each belong to a community and it’s key to recognise how workplace culture can help facilitate good mental health and contribute towards a positive, inclusive and more productive environment for everyone. We can all take a positive approach to mental health by being more open about not only our own mental health but the topic in general. Opening up the conversation helps tackle negative connotations and means we are better placed to support people if and when they are struggling.
Unmind sits as part of a holistic approach to supporting mental health and we’re really proud of and excited to see the work that the organisations we partner with are doing.
Here are some tips from Yorkshire Building Society (as part of their Time to Talk campaign) on how to encourage conversation and in so doing – help people get the support they might need.
Open, honest conversations come more easily when:
Looking for clues
The more we talk about mental health, the better life is for all of us. We believe in a world where there is no longer any stigma around talking about our minds.
When it comes to supporting our clients with their mental health initiatives – we’ve seen great engagement and success when mental health information and resources are clearly signposted and cross-referenced throughout an organisation and/or their internal wellbeing strategy.
We’ve been supporting our clients by highlighting how Unmind can help empower their people to open up about mental health and support their own, as well as others’ mental wellbeing and here are some areas of our platform which help bolster workplace wellness:
Supporting Others – a key part of talking is having someone to open up to and be heard by. One of our learning programmes: “Supporting Others with Stress”, teaches members how to grow their capacity to support others during times of stress. It helps users discover the importance of social support and how effective listening and collaborative stress reduction strategies can go a long way to empowering others when they need it most (a great one to include as part of management training).
Team Synergy – colleagues can get together with peers and leave distracting concerns outside the meeting room to do a short, audio-based team practice – helping to create collective focus and synergy. Some of our users have found that buddying up or setting team challenges help with getting into the habit of practicing techniques, as well as more readily talking about mental health too.
Tools – mental health is a level of psychological well-being akin to physical health and it goes up and down along a spectrum. We often talk about the progress we’re making down the gym without the fear of any stigma– why can’t it be the same for improving sleep, focus or relaxation techniques that make us feel great too? Practicing tools based in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness and more can help us proactively look after our mental health.
Zeno – talk to Zeno 24/7 to be steered through Unmind or signposted to additional support. It’s important to know that Zeno is not a real person but he can connect users with a human for general platform and ad hoc, more general advice.
SOS – if an Unmind user feels like they need further support they can use this section for signposting on where to go for help. It’s always better to talk to someone than suffer in silence.
Thanks for taking the time to listen!
Talk to you soon.
Alex joined us recently for his first taste of work experience. Before leaving us for the new school term, we asked him how working at Unmind changed his views on mental health, and the ways in which teenagers can support their mental wellbeing.