Last week 12 members of our staff team received the Time to Change Wales Employee Champion training; as we are a Students Union, the team ranged from full time members of staff to full and part time student sabbatical officers who had recently come into Office. Of the staff chosen initially, we focussed on those who were primarily front facing in their work environments.
We decided to take this training as since ‘signing the Time to Change Wales pledge’ earlier this year, we wanted to continue with our commitment to #EndStigma and to encourage people to talk to each other about mental health. Our Students’ Union dynamic means we have many different ways of communicating with our students and staff and this course appealed as a great way to disseminate more info quickly and to enhance our Action Plan further.
How did the training go?
Great! We started with some very easy ‘ice breakers’ amongst the group which immediately exemplified how easy it could be to strike up a conversation and put someone at ease - plus we had a good giggle!
We discussed the pros and cons of ‘speaking out’ and explored some mental health statistics which brought home the often negative impact of having hidden mental health problems in the work place.
"The training applies to every single member of staff in an organisation and gave us all confidence to use the training from day one."
One of the key points of discussion which I liked was to talk about all the things we could do to connect with others within a minute/or hour/or longer - reaching out doesn’t have to be difficult.
We loved the course - our Trainers were excellent, relaxed but informative and definitely gave us food for thought.
I would urge all organisations to take this training; it applies to every single member of staff in an organisation and gave us all confidence to use the training from day one. I think the greatest impact for us is that it demonstrated that we didn’t need to have in-depth specialist knowledge or training just to ‘talk’ and to ‘listen’. Talking about our mental health experiences need not be frightening or abnormal - we can build it in to everyday conversation, look after each other and we all win. Why wouldn’t you?
If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org