Mental health in the spotlight

Staff at Henshalls are receiving expert support during the lockdown thanks to the firm’s very own mental health champion.

Henshalls are now operating with the vast majority of its staff working from home.

But that doesn’t stop Jayne Ford, PA to managing director Mark Freeman, from ensuring they are all well and coping in such challenging times. Jayne completed a course run by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, and would usually be on hand in the office to offer support to colleagues face-to-face.

Now though during the Coronavirus pandemic, she is calling staff on a daily basis to check in with them and organising regular Zoom meetings online to make sure staff are not struggling alone.

“Mental health is now being recognised as a major contributing factor to millions of working days lost, and thanks to high profile nationwide campaigns, it is more acceptable to talk about issues such as stress, anxiety and depression,” said Jayne.

“As a company, we felt we needed to be aware of the kind of issues that staff may be facing that could be affecting their mental health, and we wanted to offer a safe, confidential way for them to talk and where we can listen.”

Jayne attended the one-day course held by the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, which was designed to provide an understanding of common mental health issues and the skills to signpost people to support.

Henshalls managing director Mark Freeman said: “We’re committed to creating a working environment where our staff feel comfortable and supported, and particularly during this Mental Health Awareness week, we believe it’s vital for companies like ours to take things seriously.

“Jayne’s training means we can now recognise the signs more readily if someone may be having difficulties. We know our employees are our greatest asset and it’s important that they are able to seek out the help they need without any fear of being judged.”

MHFA England chief executive Simon Blake said: “Our range of courses are designed to empower people to support their own mental health and that of the people they connect with in life.

“Jayne is part of a community of over 350,000 people in England and 2.6 million people worldwide trained to recognise mental ill health and help people find the support they need to stay well.”

Pic: Jayne Ford from Henshalls – the company’s Mental Health First Aid champion


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