Proud to be a Wellbeing Champion

Date posted:
12th May 2022
3 minutes
Mental Health Awareness Week
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It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the official theme is ‘loneliness’.  

As one of Halton Housing’s Wellbeing Champions I know the importance of recognising the impact that loneliness can have upon an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. 

Loneliness has many different causes, from money worries, bereavement or a relationship break-up to time of the year triggers such as around Christmas or an anniversary. All these can have a significant impact on our mental health and wellbeing. 

The Coronavirus Pandemic in particular brought with it new challenges with many of us finding ourselves spending less time with family, friends and work colleagues.  Those close connections we once enjoyed and took for granted were quickly taken away from us and working from home became the new norm. 

I was on maternity leave from my role as Marketing and Communications Manager when the Pandemic hit. With young children to home school whilst looking after a newborn baby, I know looking back that my mental health suffered at the time and loneliness was certainly a factor, even though I was surrounded by my own family, I missed the contact with my wider family and friends so I’m really pleased that the theme that the Mental Health Foundation have chosen this year for Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness. 

Luckily I work for an organisation which takes the wellbeing of its employees seriously. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, the impact of the pandemic upon the mental health of our colleagues became apparent.  

Halton Housing quickly put measures in place to support and protect the wellbeing of the colleagues around us, with regular welfare calls being one of those measures. 

The easing of restrictions were no less of a challenge, after 18 months of lockdown a big question was, how would colleagues feel about return to work as it was pre-pandemic? 

Our Leadership team ran a series of in-depth colleague listening sessions, to get a better understanding of how our colleagues were feeling. Which measures did our colleagues want to keep in place and which did they feel comfortable about phasing out? 1:1s with Managers were also an opportunity for colleagues to be heard and really feel listened to. 

To further support our colleagues upon their return to work, earlier this year Halton Housing launched our ‘Wellbeing Champions’, a group of over 20 colleagues from various roles across the organisation who act as a dedicated point of contact for anyone needing help and support. 

I am proud to be one of those Champions. 

The organisation invested in training for the Wellbeing Champions. We have all recently completed the NCFE Cache Level 2 Certificate in Mental Health first Aid and Mental Health Advocacy in the Workplace with additional Suicide prevention training. Given that many of our Wellbeing Champions also work in our customer facing roles within our Neighbourhoods and schemes, the potential benefit of this training can be far reaching. 

Our aim as Wellbeing Champions is to create an environment where our colleagues and customers can talk about their feelings and let us know, without fear of judgement, if they are struggling with their mental health.  

As well as being a visible presence within the organisation, the Wellbeing Champions run a Yammer Group dedicated to providing hints and tips for maintaining good mental health, to signposting advice for those colleagues wanting further support.  

We also support the HR team at their regular ‘Lunch n Learn sessions’ which provide colleagues with the opportunity to have an informal chat over lunch, whether this is to talk about something specific or just to say hello and meet with peers.  

By allowing people to be open, and encouraging everyone to talk about their mental health, in the same way that they talk about their physical health through the work of the Wellbeing Champs we hope everyone understands that it’s okay not to be okay. Having someone there who understands and says #Ive been there, can make all the difference. 

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place each year in May and aims to shine the spotlight on mental health across all aspects of life.  From the 9th-16th May, we are being encouraged to build meaningful connections with friends, family, colleagues and communities.  

 

Written by

Karen Kelly

Karen is Marketing & Communications Manager, managing the Comms Team. The team delivers marketing and communications campaigns ensuring key messages reach our target audiences at the right time.

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