Taking care of our mental health both in and out of the workplace is becoming an increasingly important issue. That’s why we’ve decided to launch a new mental health ambassador programme: an initiative designed to promote staff wellbeing and make our workplace a happier, healthier and more productive place to be.
Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week in May, we invited people from across the organisation to nominate themselves as mental health ambassadors. We’ve had 40 people sign up so far, from a wide variety of roles, locations and backgrounds. Our ambassadors include senior as well as junior-level staff, a good mix of ages and genders, and are spread across a variety of HSL and TDL sites across the country.
Our mental health ambassadors are there to listen and offer support in a non-judgemental and confidential capacity. There may be issues that people do not feel comfortable discussing with HR or their managers, and we hope that our mental health ambassadors will be able to offer an alternative source of peer-to-peer support. Although it is not a counselling role, all our ambassadors will be fully trained to signpost people to seek further help should they need it.
We have already held one training session for our ambassadors, with a further two planned for July and August. The training sessions are run by a fantastic charity called Rethink Mental Illness, who are specialists in this field. Once all our ambassadors have completed their training, we will formally launch the programme – and make everyone aware of who our ambassadors are, where they are based and how best to get in touch.
I’m hugely excited to be leading this programme and hope it will make a real difference to staff health and wellbeing. All our ambassadors will feedback to our department quarterly, with any particular issues, trends or concerns feeding into our larger wellbeing plan for the organisation.
Everyone who volunteered for the ambassador role did so because they truly want to help those in need. Many of them can draw on their own experiences of mental health or those of their close friends or family. With such a wide ranging group of ambassadors, we hope there will be someone for everyone.