Mental Health - First aid at work – It's okay to not be okay

Written by 
Dee Set Staff
4 August, 2021

It could be easy to dismiss the strangeness of living in a world with COVID-19 as a ‘new normal’ that we will simply come to terms with over time. In reality, as Winter approaches some of us may find that adjustment hard to make without a little extra help and support.

"Here at Dee Set we want to recognise that it’s okay not to be okay and make this an integral part of our culture going forwards.

With that in mind, we were delighted when Pam Buso, a member of our People Team, asked if she could take the lead in creating a mental health first aid group for the benefit of our 3500 fantastic frontline colleagues.

Pam herself is a fully qualified Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and is driven by her vision to create a holistic approach to first aid here at Dee Set.

We asked her to share some thoughts about this important subject:

What benefit do you think MHFA training brings to the workplace?

Having MHFA trained colleagues helps to embed a culture of care within the team which is invaluable for ensuring colleagues feel supported.

It’s important that our colleagues know that there are people who understand mental health wellbeing and that there is always someone who will listen and understand if they need to talk.

What does it mean to you?

I’m really passionate about MHFA from both a personal and professional perspective.

Having worked in a People function for many years I understand the effects that mental health can have on an individual. Sometimes people can feel alienated and unsupported which is why I have been so keen to introduce the concept of Mental Health First Aid here at Dee Set.

It’s important that workplaces have people who are trained to recognise the signs and have a mentality that champions support over judgement – it’s okay not to be okay!

What do you think is the biggest misconception? 

Mental Health First Aid training isn’t about providing advice, it’s about listening and signposting to the right support resources that are available.

Mental Health First Aiders must be prepared to give up their time to listen, however long it takes, and be careful to listen without judgement.

What’s your goal with this? How do you envisage this will look in the future at Dee Set?

I’d love to see as many mental health first aiders as there are physical first aiders which I think is achievable within the next 18 months.

As the majority of our workforce are field based and work remotely, I’d like to develop a strategy so that everyone feels connected and supported despite often working alone.

Here at Dee Set, we want to recognise that it’s okay not to be okay and make this an integral part of our culture going forwards.

Thank you, Pam, we’re proud and grateful for the initiative and leadership you’ve shown on this thoughtful step in the right direction – well done!

We’re sharing this article in the hope that it may encourage others to create similar programmes of their own.

Pam completed her MHFA training with Green Cross Training, a link to the course can be found here.

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