It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so we had a chat with a couple of our crew members to open up the conversation on mental health.
Our HR Business Partner Liz McDonald discusses being a mental health champion and what vTime is doing to combat loneliness. And Carl Quinn, our IT support and latest mental health champion, talks about gaining support skills and gives some advice to anyone struggling.
Why did you want to become a mental health champion?
Liz: I wanted to learn about mental health so I could be of more help to employees. The fear of doing more harm was a concern for me so the mental health champion course has shown me how to help and given me the confidence to help.
Carl: Mine and my family's mental health has been waning the past few months so I wanted to learn some support skills to be more proactive.
What does being a mental health champion mean to you?
Liz: I’m really proud to be a mental health champion. The company was founded on a tragedy and it's lovely to see how it's turned into a positive message.
Carl: Everyone has mental health struggles, being able to support myself and provide support to others is important to everybody. Especially after everything we've all been through in the pandemic.
This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is “loneliness”. What is vTime doing to help combat loneliness?
Liz: We’ve always had Vitality which has many benefits like counselling, GP appointments and discounted mindfulness maps. Covid and working remotely has no doubt increased loneliness, but at vTime, we keep in contact through Slack and this week we’re having daily activities to help improve our wellbeing. We’re a pretty social bunch so our hybrid policy and having get-togethers have all helped keep the office together and hopefully helped with loneliness.
Carl: Since joining vTime we've had numerous events to try and get the team together, like the Easter feast. Our Office and Wellbeing Manager Sarah has been great at reaching out to people and making them feel involved. I feel like this has helped combat the loneliness of joining a company where a lot of people are still working from home.
What is one thing you wish more people understood about mental health?
Liz: That it can affect us all at some point in our lives, so it's not something that happens to the few.
Carl: Mental health affects everybody throughout their life, nobody is above it. Looking after your mental health is equally important as physical health and can make just as big of an impact.
What would you recommend to anyone struggling with their mental health?
Liz: To reach out for help. There is so much help out there and so many people willing to help.
Carl: Don't suffer in silence, there is no shame in needing support. Reach out to a loved one or trained professionals, everyone has suffered/will suffer from mental health difficulties.
If you're not sure who to talk to you could reach out to the Samaritans (call 116 123) or make an appointment with a local NHS support group (talkliverpool.nhs.uk).