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Author, Harriet Browne, Marketing Assistant
While the conversation around mental health is starting to open up more and more, many people are still hesitant to talk openly about it. According to Mind, 1 in 6 people in England will experience a mental health problem in any given week. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to raise awareness and encourage those around us to talk openly about the subject.
As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to take the time to reflect on our individual mental health, as well as open up the conversation between colleagues. After a difficult year for many, we hope that we can encourage others to talk openly, as well as ensure that we explore initiatives to support our colleagues throughout the year.
With the work from home rule still in place, we hosted drop-in sessions for our team to join virtually. These discussions varied from talking about mental health coping mechanisms, to just catching up with colleagues over a cup of tea.
In the construction industry alone, a fifth of all work-related illness is attributed to mental health and with the difficulties presented over the past year we wanted to continue to tackle the culture of non-communication. Loaded with breakfast butties and doughnuts, we held informal breakfast get-togethers to encourage our teams on site to openly discuss some of the issues that have affected them over the past year, and to encourage them to do so.
”Our site environments are not without physical risks and stress and not acknowledging and talking about Mental health just add to these risks. Talking about mental health onsite is always a difficult conversation, but breaking the ice with a offering of bacon-butties did work.” - Lewis Smit, Construction Manager
On Wednesday, members of the team donned their yoga gear and took part in a virtual yoga session. Yoga can help reduce stress and enhance social wellbeing, so we wanted to encourage our employees to take an hour of their day for themselves and away from their screens. Prior to Covid-19, Peldon Rose ran a well-attended yoga session in the office, something that has been sorely missed over the past 14 months. It is safe to say, we are very much looking forward to the return of these sessions.
"A plank of wood is probably more flexible than I am, but trying out some yoga was such a fun, and relaxing way to get moving after sitting at a desk all day." - Georgia Marsh, Marketing Executive
As a team of creative thinkers, design is what we do. It was brilliant to be joined by The Cr4ft Lounge for a ‘nature’ themed art class to tie in with the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week. For the novices, it was an hour to learn something new, for the artists among the team it was an opportunity to showcase some artistic talent. We ran a competition as part of the class and the best artwork will win a coveted spot on our tapestry wall.
"It was such a lovely way to spend an hour and not think about anything else going on. I definitely came away feeling very zen." - Georgina Haslam, Client Focus Project Manager
While we’ve enjoyed the activities over the past week, it’s important to support our people all year-round. We know that exercise boosts wellbeing, and our Cyclescheme supports our employees to purchase their own bike to use for their commute. Our Employee Assistance Programme offers free and confidential advice for those seeking professional support. Whilst many of us have been working remotely, we have been ensuring that our internal communications platform is regularly updated with information and resources on how best to support those who may be struggling.
We hope that by continuing to talk about this difficult topic we can help to open up the conversation and encourage someone who may be suffering to speak out. The more we talk about mental health, the easier it will become to seek support when we need it.
For free confidential support you can contact these helplines.
Samaritans: 116 123
Construction industry helpline: 0300 123 3392
Mind infoline: 0300 123 3393 or text 86463