Our CEO Paul Vandrill and Recruitment Consultant Lewis Payne talk about World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day 2018

World Mental Health Day 2018 focuses on Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World. 

There is a growing recognition and understanding that mental illness can begin in adolescent years or even before.  The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace and while this may be exciting to many, it can bring stress and growing pressures to others – which if ignored can lead to mental health issues.

At Hallam Medical, being a responsible, ethical employer is paramount to us and we are keen to ensure all of our colleagues are provided with a healthy, happy, safe and open working environment.  This, in turn, enables us to provide the very best service possible to our practitioners and clients.  We also recognise that like physical ailments, mental health issues can affect people of all ages.

This month we have launched several initiatives, each designed to help improve awareness and potentially support the future physical and mental health of our team.

It is well publicised, and well known, that even small amounts of physical activity are good for the body. We also know that exercise can play a huge role in improving mental health and wellbeing. We are cautious and do not to appear to be ‘preaching’ to anyone and all the initiatives are voluntary, but we hope that awareness levels among the team will increase as a result.

What are we doing?  

  • Providing fruit and vegetables for the team to ‘snack on’ during the day
  • Encouraging use of the office stairs – with the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity benefiting by a donation for each flight of stairs climbed in the month of October!  (We are on the 9th floor!)
  • Arranging some internal ‘talks’ from local experts on subjects such as “quitting”, nutrition and the ‘dangers’ of tech ‘addiction’
  • Promoting the Cycle to Work scheme and car sharing
  • Encouraging a ‘greener’ and ‘cleaner’ office – recycling, turning off screens, office plants

As part of World Mental Health Day, one of our Recruitment Consultants, Lewis, wanted to speak out about his experiences.

Lewis has experienced first-hand what can happen when people don’t talk about things and don’t get the help they need. In December 2017 Lewis’ cousin committed suicide as a result of his ongoing struggle with mental health.

He said: “Ian’s death has shaken our whole family, everyone has been left with the feeling that they could have done more for him. Unfortunately, suicide makes waves into everyone’s mental health, the effects of Ian’s suffering continue to be felt by all of us. As I approach the anniversary of my cousin’s suicide, I am already experiencing heightened anxiety, and can genuinely say I am not looking forward to this time. My feelings are made worse whenever I am away from my family, I feel unable to help should something go wrong. I rarely drink alcohol, as a young man: 25 years old, this isn’t the norm. Hangovers cause my anxiety to increase, and the alcohol forces my mind to think negatively, as a result; I avoid drink as much as possible.”

Lewis said: “For me having my work structure has helped, it is in the quiet times that I struggle most. The lively attitude at Hallam allows me to focus on the work I want to do.  This paired with my family support network is what allows me to keep my focus on the positives. “

He added: “My advice for anyone that may be having thoughts of suicide or are struggling with mental health, is to try and find a good listener. Someone that will listen to how you are feeling. If you can’t talk about it, write it down and give it to someone.

It will take time for my mental health to be repaired. I accept it will not always be perfect but accepting that fact helps. This allows me to continue from day to day. “

As an employer, we cannot know every personal detail about our staff, about what is happening in their out of work lives and how they are feeling.  We CAN provide a positive, listening, supportive working environment and help raise awareness of these incredibly important issues. This can only help the broader initiatives, be they international, national, educational, in the wider social community or even amongst peer groups.

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