The Mental Health and Wellbeing side of my role developed during my time at BMV M5 Oldbury Viaduct and has since become a full time role for me.
When I started working on this project, I was asked to develop and manage the Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) working on the project. Within a short time, we were an active community of MHFA going out on site to talk to the workforce, being present at our site compounds at set days and times to talk to the workforce, and holding regular drop in and Time to Talk sessions.
We put a lot of effort developing Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHWB) at the M5, which led to a culture of openness in talking about mental health. I was then asked by the Project Director to set up and manage a project MHWB room. I am still astonished by the success that we had with this room, which was driven by the culture of openness which we had developed.
Within three months of establishing the room, I had 247 conversations with members of our site teams about their mental health, their lives, and issues affecting them. Many of these were referred on for professional support.
I have recently been contacted by an operative who I supported at the M5 who received professional support. He wanted to write a testimonial of the support received, and to share his story.
Here is an extract from that testimonial:
"I would say that I have suffered depression for a long time, I coped by gambling. One day I spoke with my supervisor who signposted me to a MHFA.I have to be honest it was easier than I thought. I had always believed asking for help would make me look weak and if you have a problem then you need to “be a man” and deal with it. Speaking with the MHFA I realised that there was someone who could help and that my problem was an issue that others also suffered. I believe that every company big and small should have mental health support and if my story encourages just one person to come forward it would be great."
To me, this is what it is about; supporting and caring for people. I really didn’t want to be nominated for the This Can Happen award, but am extremely proud of having achieved Highly Commended in my category.
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