As this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, it is a good time to look back on some of the things we’ve been doing over the last year to support the mental health of our staff.

Promoting and protecting wellbeing in the workplace is important to Baily Garner and is aligned to our key objective of being a great place to work. We recognise that mental health is a vital part of this and, in a year that has been difficult for a lot of people, we have put a focus on the mental health of our staff.

“How are you?” has become the first question at the top of the agenda in all weekly team meetings and in individual one-to-one reviews. Our people managers have been taught to monitor individuals’ wellbeing and be vigilant for signs of demotivation or feelings of isolation.

In November 2020, 23 of our people managers attended a Mental Health Awareness course provided by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFAE), which included how to be more aware of mental ill health in others, how to talk to others about mental health, considering our own mental health and actions we can take to ensure good mental health.

Then in January 2021, we launched our Mental Health First Aiders across the practice. 14 of our team have been trained as Mental Health First Aiders to act as someone to talk to for anyone experiencing any mental health issues and to provide signposting to other resources where needed.

Our employees all also have access to an Employee Assistance Programme through our Healthcare Cash Plan benefit provided to all permanent employees, which provides further signposting and professional help if required.

We provide ways for our staff to support their own mental wellbeing through social activities and our ‘Social, Health and Wellbeing’ Microsoft Teams channel. This week we are using this to launch our first annual photography competition, in memory of one of our former partners, to raise money for charity. The theme of the competition will be nature, to tie in with the Mental Health Awareness Week theme and it’s open for all of our staff and their families to take part.

We are also giving each of our team a gift of a ‘Little Ray of Sunshine’ in the form of a sunflower growing kit. A little bit of nature to take home and ‘grow their own’.

Finally, this week we’ll be launching our Mental Health Policy to formalise all of the above in the way we work and reinforce our commitment to everyone connected with Baily Garner that we take good mental health seriously.