We know how important it is for social care staff to look after their mental health – the day to day can be enormously rewarding, but also very challenging. It is so important that we all look out for each other, not just for our own mental health, but also for the benefit of the people we support.
At FitzRoy, we have a team of trained Wellbeing Champions and Mental Health First Aiders who are always available to support staff. Helen, HR Advisor and Mental Health First Aider, says: “By talking about mental health, we can support ourselves and others. Our Champions and Mental Health First Aiders are here for staff, and we’ll help however we can, whether that’s providing a listening ear or signposting to sources of assistance.”
Our staff also have a free and confidential 24-hour support line, where they can receive free support including counselling.
Our Nottinghamshire team specialises in supporting people with mental health support needs. Kimberley, our East Midlands Regional Manager, shares how they support each other:
We’re usually very good at knowing when one of our colleagues isn’t doing well, but we’ve used a tactic called ‘the two okays’ for some time. If you ask someone if they’re okay, their automatic response will probably be ‘I’m fine’. We all do it, even when we’re really not fine at all. If you ask again, ‘but are you really okay?’ you may get a very different response.
“Showing that you’ve understood what someone has told you can help them to feel heard, which makes a big difference. This could be as simple as saying, ‘so what I’m hearing is…’ and summarising what you heard. It’s very easy to be thinking of your next question rather than really listening to what someone is saying – we all do it. By actively listening and checking you’ve got it right, you’ll help the person feel much more understood.”
If you’re pretty sure someone isn’t okay but you’re worried about saying the wrong thing, don’t be. Just making the effort to reach out counts for a lot, and simply listening to someone and helping them feel heard can have a positive impact.
There are plenty of online resources for anyone struggling with their mental health.
National charity Mind have some great resources about low mood and depression, including symptoms, self care and information for friends and family – as well as videos and information about people’s experiences.
Sometimes it feels like a black hole but sometimes it feels like I need to cry and scream and kick and shout. Sometimes I go quiet and lock myself in my room and sometimes I have to be doing something at all times of the day to distract myself.
The NHS Every Mind Matters website has useful information and resources, including things you can do now, as well as longer term coping strategies.
Please take the time out to look after yourselves. If you are struggling at any time, please ask for help, we are all in this together and need to look out for each other.