In order to best support communities in South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire to enjoy better mental health through sport and physical activity, it’s important that we first look after our own staff.
That’s why ten members of the team recently became qualified Mental Health First Aiders, having attended a two-day course delivered by Mental Health First Aid England.
Among the benefits of the course for those who attended is an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing as well as the practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of a range of mental health issues. It also provides an understanding of how to keep themselves safe while performing their duties.
A number of other members of the team have also attended a half-day first aid awareness course, which gives a basic knowledge of some common mental health issues, and an introduction to looking after their own mental health and maintaining wellbeing.
As well as the formal training, more informal ways have been used to provide support. Feedback from the annual staff survey indicated those members of team working almost exclusively in the districts in which we operate felt some disconnection from the rest of the team.
This led to the introduction of one-day a month where all members of the team spend their working day in the head office in Morley. We include an afternoon activity to support people’s mental wellbeing, ranging from a walk to the local park, to an hour of touch rugby.
Susan Hibbert, HR and Organisational Development Manager at Yorkshire Sport Foundation, has led on the work.
“It’s vitally important that members of the team – whether that be the Chief Executive or anyone else – have the awareness, skills and support so that they are confident in looking after their own mental health. They can also look out for their colleagues, and to support
individuals in the communities in which we work.”
“It’s part of a commitment to help remove the stigma around mental health, and put it on a level with physical health. When someone breaks a bone in their body, we talk about it openly in terms of how they did it and their recovery. We want to get to that level, but with mental health.”
For more details on Mental Health First Aid England, including resources and training opportunities, click here.