Of course, every training programme should drive positive outcomes to allow someone to do their job to the best of their ability. However, what about supporting their mental health? Should every training programme draw on helping people mentally? In this article, our head of HR, Natalie Thrush looks at how discussions between our Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) raised important questions about how mental health support and training can make a difference for individuals and a business.
The Question That Changed Everything!
A long time ago, a good point was raised during one of Abingdon Health’s regular MHFA meetings, “If a team member had an accident, everyone would know how to deal with this. They know who the first aiders are, and our leaders know how to follow up on this whether from a physical support perspective, investigating the accident or even supporting someone if this has resulted in time off.”
Likewise, from a procedure and process perspective, manufacturing teams know what to do on the production line and who is responsible for each section. Our specialists know what is expected of them during a lateral flow development or scale-up project, also.
But would this be the same if a team member raised a mental health concern? Would all our teams and leaders know what to do, where to direct someone and how to support and what the next steps might be?
Mental Health Training – The Missing Piece in Mandatory Training
We have always had a ‘tight-knit’ team, and issues raised would never be ignored. But maybe we were not as aware of mental health issues as we could have been. Therefore, this important discussion generated a key outcome for our approach to mandatory training. We questioned “do we do enough to enable our teams to understand more about mental health? How can we support and resource this?”
We looked at how good our general mandatory trainings were. Whether this is Manual Handling, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), Quality Standards as some examples. But we were critical to say that we haven’t extended these mandatory trainings to include Mental Health awareness to support all of our teams across the business. And discussed solutions to how we change the way we look at our ‘Mandatory training routines’ to support both our business but also move with the times.
What We Did
We reviewed our wellbeing activities and agreed to publish more Hot Topics and hold ‘coffee and a chat’ sessions. Selling the ‘its ok to not be ok’ message.
We invited our teams to host these ‘coffee and a chat sessions’. We have 2 already planned. The importance of sleeping. The ability to power nap and appreciating each other’s ‘10’. We will share outputs of these on LinkedIn.
We’re developing a wellbeing agenda encouraging more cross functional personal interaction. Taking walks, exercise and wellbeing platforms encouraging involvement and coffee and a chat sessions to name a few.
Importantly, we’ve refocused our mandatory training to keep with the times, not just focusing on operationally what is important but also based on our people, their health wellbeing and engagement.
In an ever-changing world with lots of external pressures and individual factors, we can’t always predict or interpret what is negatively impacting our employees’ happiness or ability to function mentally. This is out of our control this, but we can certainly offer an outlet for support. Continuous improvement doesn’t need to be restricted to lateral flow test development or manufacturing. Mental health training has a positive impact on how we continuously support team members but also allows us to look out for signs of unhappiness or distress. Mandatory training needs to move with the times and incorporating mental health training into it seems in retrospect such an obvious thing to do.
We at Abingdon Health are proud of our (continually evolving) approach to mental health and we would welcome discussions with any company or client who would like to share knowledge and experiences with regards to mental health training.