Dan Nash, Resourcing Manager at Thera Trust
Being a mental health first aider is not about being able to diagnose or treat individuals, its about being able to identify and support individuals that may be having a tough time. Unlike a physical illness, such as a broken arm, often mental health issues are hidden, hidden for several reasons, maybe its embarrassment or the stigma relating to mental health. Thankfully attitudes are changing in the workplace and in the wider society.
Having a lived experience of mental health issues I hope I am able to relate to other individuals that may be suffering in silence and to be able to recognise when an individual in my team or in the Thera family are finding things a challenge. I feel I have a duty to open the conversation around mental health in the workplace so that we have a working environment that is supportive and understanding of our colleagues and peers. Enabling individuals to understand that it’s ok to have off days, it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and it’s ok to talk about how you feel without being judged. Everybody is different and mental health affects us all in different ways.
I use this analogy: life is like a filing cabinet. When everything is going well, each file, or parts of your life are well organised and each filed away where they should be, collated and in order. However, on occasions something happens that pushes the filing cabinet over and all your files fall out. This can happen to anyone, even those without a mental health issue. Just having the strength to put all the files back in the right place is not easy for someone who suffers with their mental health, especially when they are dedicated to their role and have heavy workloads. But every file has its place and sometimes just talking to someone, such as your Mental Health First Aiders, can help to put things in perspective.
As one of your Mental Health First Aiders I hope you feel that I can be approached at any time, to listen and offer support. Or simply have a chat.