Mental Health and the ‘new normal’
As we are now firmly in mental health awareness week it seems that being aware of yours as well as other peoples wellbeing and mental health is more important than ever. What was our ‘normal world’ was taken away from us quite brutally on the 23rd March. The lockdown has resulted in many people across the country struggling mentally. People who had possibly never experienced mental health conditions before suddenly found themselves feeling something they had never felt before. And those who already had existing mental health conditions were exacerbated by what was going on around them.
If I think back to Mental Health Awareness week at Wyboston Lakes last year, it was a really exciting time for us. Whilst it was important to us that we looked at our mental health programme, we decided to focus on Wellbeing as a bigger picture as well. During mental health awareness week 2019 we decided to launch our programme in partnership with Lisa Whittleton from Illuminate VR.
First, we put our Senior Management Team through a 1 day mental health awareness training programme so they had a full understanding of the subject. If we are going to lead be example, it comes from the top! We then put all of our people managers and duty managers through the same programme. It was important to us that we had everyone fully understand what we were trying to achieve. It’s not just our teams who we have to support, there are occasions where we have to support our guests as well.
The final part of this training took place in August when 14 team members were trained to become Mental Health First Aiders. Since the programmes launch, many of our team have benefitted from the support they’ve received from their team and the MHFA’s. In addition to the benefits of having someone at the resort to talk to, we have an EAP that each of our team have access to through Perkbox.
We followed our launch up with Wellbeing Week, where we focused on mental health, fitness tips, nutritional advice, meditation and yoga classes. This year, mental health awareness week at Wyboston will be very different…
Today and moving forward
With the majority of our team not currently working, we’ve had to adapt the ways in which we can support them. The way we knew best before, isn’t a possibility, but their mental health is still a priority. Communication is key and we have been ensuring daily and weekly communication is there for everyone through our internal Facebook page, Wybo weekly wrap, and regular video updates from Steve Jones our MD. This year we will be doing things differently as we can’t be together. We will be sharing tips and information through our comms channels. Ensuring we signpost people where to go for help should they need it. And that covers more than mental health, it can be something as small as just having someone to talk to.
I think some of what the last 8 weeks has taught us, is that no matter who you are, or what you do, wellbeing needs to be higher up our list of what’s important. We need to remember that whilst people are off, they will be facing different challenges. Challenges that won’t just disappear the day they return to work.
We need to ensure that we support the mental wellbeing of our teams whilst they are off of work, but also prepare them for their return. Once they are back, we must remember that this idea of a ‘new normal’ will mean that people’s concerns, fears and worries could affect them for months or years. In conclusion, a support network at work is more important than ever.