Ever had that sinking feeling because you’re missing something?

Something I’m trying to get better at is gardening. Like many others, growing up I never listened nor showed interest in grandparents trying to teach me about growing fruit, vegetables, herbs etc. For them, they learnt out of necessity – food was still scare for them growing up.

Looking back, I don’t doubt they also got a lot of calmness, wellbeing and resilience from their planting and of course harvesting even if these weren’t the primary reasons they gardened!!!!

For the last 20 plus years, the voices for environmental wellbeing, impact on the world of wrong types of food productions, water consumption etc has been a catalyst for many to embrace gardening. For some, it’s the mindfulness nurturing plants, tending soil etc. Others want to save on their food bill and /or teach their children where food comes from.

The arrival of lockdown saw many start tending their gardens, balconies and/or window sills as their previous routines had evaporated virtually overnight.

Whatever the reason, the joy of growing something, especially from seed, seems to lighten the spirit no matter the age or background. Like laughter, gardening seems to be a universal medicine.

Personally, I’ve never been that successful growing vegetables from seeds. Either I get a frail, shrivelled seedling that doesn’t mature or nothing at all.

The universal ‘go to’ now is the internet. YouTube is perfect for step by step guidance in many things from plumbing to gardening. Here I learned about a method to increase germination of seeds to help growth. Using a mixture of 1:10 hydrogen peroxide to water mix, dampen some kitchen towel and wrap the seeds in this before placing them into a plastic bag for two days. The film showed not all seeds would germinate but most would. It seemed worth a try. The only thing was no hydrogen peroxide. I had that sinking feeling. So I went with just water and it worked!

The reason for sharing this is to show just because you haven’t got all the ingredients for something, you can improvise and still get great results.

Don’t let any ‘sinking feeling’ deter you from trying.

“Thousands of jobs & no one to fill them” – can that really be true?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57349802  This features a report by KPMG on the situation UK PLC finds itself in: “thousands of job vacancies but no people to fill them” How can that be so?

In other reports from @BBC we know there are 1.7m unemployed and over 4m on furlough who may not have jobs to return to when furlough finally ends.

There seems a huge disconnect.

From the people I’ve spoken to over the past fourteen months I think there’s an elephant in the room we are not addressing.  Fear.  

Fear of stepping outside their door.

Fear of leaving their family.

Fear of stepping onto public transport.

Fear of walking into a new environment.

Fear of getting to learn a new role.

Fear of a new routine

Fear of not being respected by colleagues

Fear of not ‘gelling’ with the team/management

Fear of losing this new job

Fear of failing

There is an expectation employers will address this fear. Those integrating the new ISO45003 guidelines will go a long way to achieving this. Using Growing Talent to gain new talent will see them go even further in achieving the goal of sustainable new talent who have grown into the available role through the methods taught on Growing Talent to flourishing adding real value to everyone.

If you have a real job to fill, why not consider www.growing-talent.co.uk?  It’s completely free and not a Government funded programme. 

The global pandemic has seen businesses change the way they operate to get the results they want. 

Isn’t now the time to change the way you recruit to reveal those hidden gems of talent you’ve potentially been missing?

#psychosocial #risks #business #leadership #talent #socialmobility #inclusion #diversity

What has fairy tales got to do with business?

Everything if we want workplaces, people, profits, brand reputation to flourish.

After reading the Stevenson Farmer 2017 report ‘Thriving at Work”, the ISO45003 new international standard guidelines “Psychological Health & Safety at Work – Guidelines for Managing Psychosocial Risks” and CIPD’s April 2021 member’s survey report it’s clear business has to slay a few dragons to truly thrive.

Let’s look at those three core pieces of work a little more closely. What are the core results of each?

Thriving At Work – 2017

  • 300,000 staff lose their jobs each year through longer term mental health – far higher than those who have lost their role through physical issues.
  • Around 15% of staff have symptoms of mental ill health
  • Over half the cost to employers estimated £33bn-£42bn is due to presenteeism
  • Deloitte’s estimated for every £1 invested in management training for workplace mental health and wellbeing the return is £9.98
  • Only 11% of staff discussed a recent mental ill health issue with their line manager
  • Staff fear disclosing will lead to discrimination. Line managers fear getting involved will make matters worse.
  • Only 11% of the Top 100 companies disclose their initiatives for wellbeing and mental health in their annual reports.

ISO45003 – guidance notes available now. Certification available later in 2021

  • Understand and identify what is a psychosocial risk/hazard, then mitigate it – ISO 3.1
  • Understand legal requirements – ISO 4.1.1
  • Ensure appointed staff to be first aiders and listening ears for mental health and wellbeing are not only trained but competent too – ISO 8.2(B)
  • Address staff working location – isolation, IT issues – home working responsibility – ISO 4.1.3
  • Management of change – ISO 8.1.3
  • Return to work – psychosocial risk assessment – ISO8.3
  • Emergency response -(examples – terror acts, dismissal, suicide) ISO 8.2
  • Ensure staff can identify signs in themselves of psychosocial risks – ISO 8.1.25

CIPD April 2021 Report – member survey

  • Financial wellbeing is still lacking. Only 19% of companies have financial wellbeing information in place
  • Employers’ are the key financial provider to their employees and should have a menu of information/training to reflect the make-up of their staff to reflect key requirements.
  • Just over 77% of respondents believe their company is actively promoting positive mental health and wellbeing BUT less than half of these felt it was effective.
  • Many employees don’t feel their managers are comfortable supporting someone experiencing a mental health issue.
  • Stress remains the biggest issue for staff. 71% of staff said they had taken sick days due to workplace stress. This percentage rose to 91% for companies over 250 staff.
  • COVID has been the. biggest cause of workplace stress
  • In November 2020 Mind said more people had experienced a mental health crisis than ever previously recorded pre-Covid.
  • Overwhelming majority of respondents have observed presenteeism – 75% in the workplace and 77% whilst working at home over the past 12 months.
  • Seven in 10 people have observed leaveism – working outside contracted hours, during annual leave.

Conclusion

Clearly there are many adults from all backgrounds experiencing their own ‘dragons’. The snapshots of the above three documents show employers’ role in slaying those dragons are clear.

Having worked in the field of training in positive mental health, wellbeing, resilience building, finance building blocks for a great many years, I’ve seen a shift from some employers keen to address some of this and roll out training. 

But is it the right training? For well over the 10 years I was involved in MHFAEngland whose mission is to ‘train 1:10 of the population’ in their reactive first aider programme. 

But what if the wrong people are being trained? 

If staff do not feel their line manager is comfortable speaking about mental ill health issues, they won’t disclose even when they know that manager has been trained. First Aider programmes inform on what to do when something has happened. They don’t inform how to build resilience, improve wellbeing, mitigate psychosocial risks. I-act does. Check out what is covered in i-act’s courses and make sure you are buying something as robust when looking at mental health and wellbeing training in your workplace:

1.     Bespoke courses for both those managing teams and those not 

2.     Accredited by Royal College of Psychiatrists and carries CPD points

3.     Proactive – teaches resilience building not just reactive when there is an issue

4.     Those receiving the training improve the quality of their own lives, those around them and makes the workplace inclusive and resilient

5.     Evidence based, systematically reviewed every three years

6.     Both courses have an accompanying 168 page evidenced-based training manual, toolkit and resource pack 

7.     Participants gain access to i-act’s website to download resources

8.     Virtual delivery – saves time, money and anxiety for staff who find travelling difficult

9.     Has over 50 practical step-by-step tools and over 95 organisations to refer to

10.  Can be delivered nationally and internationally – ideal for global organisations wanting uniform training

11.  Whilst it teaches how to support someone in distress, it uniquely focuses on improving wellbeing and building resilience to reduce the risk of becoming unwell – hence the name i-act rather than re-act.

12.  Has unique evaluation and development tools for those team members supporting other team members so collectively the pillars give the acronym of i-acted:

I – Improve wellbeing

A – Advocate help and signpost

C – Connect with people

T – Take tools and advice

E – Evaluate and monitor

D – Develop further

If you are interested in learning more to grow the resilience of your business and teams, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Is your business Psychosocially ready?

Refreshing to see ISO (International Standards Organisation) have recognised the need to put mental and psychological health front and centre of business. The terms are interchangeable. For clarity, global agreement has been reached by ISO to use the term ‘psychosocial’ which you will see more and more over the coming months.

ISO’s new certification due for launch later this year – ISO45003 – is designed for businesses to ensure their workplaces are psychosocially healthy and is especially attractive to businesses already holding ISO45001.

Having read the advanced final framework of ISO45003 – ‘Occupational health and safety management – psychological health and safety at work – guidelines for managing psychological risks’ – it is clear any business, even micro, businesses can use ISO45003’s guidelines as a framework without applying for accreditation.

Throughout the global pandemic, businesses have risen to diverse challenges. Some have flourished without making many changes such as the logistics and IT sectors. Others have embraced agile working remotely. Some will return in full to their workplaces whilst others will have a blended mix.

One thing is certain for all. The need to ensure their workplaces and teams are psychosocially safe and robust is critical for their staff, profits and reputation to flourish.

Now is the time to put tools in place to aid this.

Growing Talent is a strong tool for employers looking for new talent in their business. The programme has a solid track history of revealing untapped talent, delivering diversity and inclusion to the business as well as personal empowerment and growth to that talent.

Growing Talent covers many of the areas highlights in ISO45003 – see below.

Recruiting through Growing Talent gets employers ahead of the game when it comes to the psychosocial health of their workplaces.

Why not at Growing Talent to your recruitment tool box?

http://www.growing-talent.co.uk

Learning together….virtually!

It’s strange how Coronavirus has managed to change my mind completely on virtual training. I know some remote locations globally have used virtual methods to deliver skills, training and education in all areas for many years.

Up until March this year when the Coronavirus curve ball hit us all, I didn’t feel I personally could deliver valuable training online. How wrong was I?

Having done nothing but virtual training over the last six months I see how much more inclusive and nurturing it is. It gives a much wider reach enabling people based throughout the UK and beyond to join from the comfort of their home sharing their knowledge and experiences.

I know see 90% of my business going forward will be on a virtual platform rather than classroom environment. So many more advantages to the virtual stage. All being there is good internet access of course!

At the start of the pandemic I made the decision to find an exact product to replace MHFAEngland’s three courses I’m licensed to deliver. Their half day awareness course, one day champion course and two day adult First Aider course. None of which are accredited.

I discovered http://www.nucotraining.com which recently added three accredited courses which match what I was looking for. Nuco has a solid reputation in the first aid, H&S and associated environments.

However, there was a few steps first! I had to apply and be screened against Nuco’s criteria. I also had to do a L3 formal Education and Training course with CTC before I could be accepted for Instructor training. I was a little deflated as I’m pretty impatient when it comes to me getting things done! CTC’s website showed the L3 qualification took unto a year. I really didn’t want to wait that long!!!

Thankfully with the curve ball of Coronavirus and home working, I managed to complete the L3 in under three months! Once I had this qualification I was able to get accepted by Nuco on their last virtual training session for Mental Health First Aid planned for 2020.

Everything fell into place beautifully!

Level 1 is a four hour workshop to raise awareness which a written paper at the end to prove knowledge and attain the Level 3 qualification.

Level 2 is six hours with a written paper and practical session to gain the

Level 3 qualifies someone to be the First Aider and is 12 hours long with 2 papers to complete and a practical session.

The beauty of virtual training is illustrated by people on the Instructor’s course with me. Based throughout the UK as well as Guernsey and in Afghanistan!

Martin, the Nuco Instructor, shared techniques and resources. Engaging, challenging and robust.

An exhausting but strangely energising experience.

Now I have a 5 accredited courses on mental health and wellbeing to add to my portfolio of workshops available for clients wishing to ensure the wellbeing of their staff.

Opportunity presents itself in the most unexpected ways.

The benefits of virtual learning

For the 10+ years I’ve been a MHFAEngland Instructor, I’ve been looking for a mental health and wellbeing programme to deliver which was accredited by a qualifying body delivering real value rather than the usual courses that just end with a Certificate of Attendance.

I stumbled across http://www.i-act.co.uk who devised mental health and well-being products specifically for the workplace. Both courses come with a 168 page manual, 50 self-help tools to use and 95 referral organisations for different mental health issues.

Having done the manager’s course – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and WELLBeing – accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists with CPD points – I knew this was a key product which would deliver real value to my clients.

I decided to apply for the Instructor’s accreditation to deliver both the manager course and the ‘Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and WELLbeing in the Workplace’ for non-management employees.

At the start of this week myself and others from all corners of the UK, Bahrain and Hong Kong met online with one of the co-founders Pete – a Clinical Psychiatrist and mine of information – also our Instructor. After watching Pete deliver, we then had to deliver the whole programme in our own style with a couple of peers giving feedback.

Solid connections were made. Messages of encouragement flowed over WhatsApp as we all became accredited instructors.

I now intend adding these two excellent courses to my portfolio of training to employers looking to ensure their staff at all levels are maintaining optimum levels of wellbeing duding real value to their bottom line and brand reputation.

The opportunities that open up when you least expect them can lead to incredible places.

Is this a good or bad thing? – Mental Health under 18s at NHS A&E

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/dec/04/mental-health-young-people-in-crisis-waiting-hours-for-ae-help?dm_i=52KI,4EIF,1OHPLR,FT3K,1

 

The above feature in The Guardian by Young Minds shows 13,567 under 18s accessed A&E departments in England alone over the previous year.

 

This suggests a number of things to me:

 

Stigma – the core reason people didn’t reach out for help when they needed it seems to be rescinding.  People – especially young people see mental health on a par with physical health.  This is surely a good thing as they are no longer suffering alone in silence.

England only – the 13,000+ quoted by Young Minds of under 18s is for England only.  I find this startling thinking of what the overall figures would be for the entire Union of Britain.

Right place? – is a busy, noisy A&E environment the right place for someone with mental health issues?  Especially if they experience an average of four hour wait time as the feature states.

 

Overall, I believe the rising stats show people who are suffering are no longer holding back on seeking help due to stigma.  This shows how far we have come as part of humanity is busting the myths and stigma surrounding mental health.

 

There are a growing number of dedicated charities with bespoke experience in supporting all ages, backgrounds and cultures.  Some have 24/7 services including text lines or phone lines.  I think one of the key missing pieces of information is a knowledge of the applicable charities available.  These should be advertised everywhere – schools, colleges, doctors, dentists, opticians, supermarkets, job centre plus offices absolutely everywhere people go.  Giving people a menu of options enables them to select what might be the most suitable for them and reduce the pressure on A&E hospital services.

Some charities I know that might help you/those you know are below.  Why not keep a few in your mobile ? – you never know when you might need them:

 

Give Us a Shout – 24/7 Crisis Text time – text Shout to 85258

Young Minds – website with signposting resources for young people and their parents – http://www.youngminds.org

Place 2 Be – website – resources for school children – http://www.place2be.org.uk

Campaign Against Living Miserably – web chat and helpline manned 5pm-midnight http://www.thecalmzone.net

 

 

 

 

 

Find it tough to start a conversation about your feelings?

We are becoming more aware about mental ill health in the workplace, education and our families/communities.  We know starting a conversation can save a life.

 

But what about when it’s us who needs the help?  Often those who are supportive to others find it difficult to reach out.

 

Earlier this year I trained to be a crisis volunteer with Give Us A Shout – a text crisis line launched in the UK by HRH Prince William earlier this year.  It was devised in USA  by Nancy Lubin about six years ago and has proven evidence it saves lives.  Crisis Text Line is now global.

 

For those embarrassed, isolated or just overthinking they are not worthy of help and can’t speak to anyone, this text line is a life saving solution.  The Crisis Volunteers are trained to deal with every situation including worries about debt, relationships, bereavement, work, self harm, suicidal thoughts and much more.

 

All anyone has to do to get help from this 24/7 service is to text Shout to 85258.  Pass this on to anyone you know who is suffering right now.

 

We’ve just had the global world suicide prevention day.  But let’s not forget about the importance of noticing a change in someone and starting a conversation.  People are suffering every day.  Over 6,500 suicides were recorded in the UK in 2018 – over 200 young people.

 

In the UK employers have a legal duty of care under Health & Safety Regulations.  They also have a duty of care for mental health and wellbeing of their staff under the Equalities Act 2010.

 

Time to talk.  Time to reach out if you are suffering too.

 

The earliest intervention starts with a conversation.

 

 

 

Unacceptable Stats

It’s shocking to read BiTC’s report on mental health in the workplace 2017 – link below.  The feature photo shows two startling facts BiTC’s report has uncovered.

 

https://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/research-articles/mental-health-work-report-2017

 

Have we learnt so little?  For employers there is a huge positive hit to their bottom line when they address mental health in their business but raising awareness and delivering training.  As a Mental Health First Aid Instructor I know businesses are doing more.  Let’s consider some stats from MHFAEngland:

 

  • 31% of staff said they would leave their current job if stress levels didn’t decrease in the coming year
  • 70 million sick days are lost to mental health costing UK plc £70-£100bn
  • Presentism – underperforming at work due to mental health issues costs £15.1bn to UK plc
  • Awareness, training and openness on mental health in the workplace decreases the risk of being sued
  • Legal obligation – mental health issues including self-harm are protected under 2010 Equality Act.

 

We have evidence that suicide is thankfully reducing even though it’s a slight reduction.  The ratio remains three times more men than women complete suicide,   Clearly there is a lot more work to be done for both business and us individuals.

 

Can hearts and minds be changed quickly enough?

 

 

Personal Evaluation – Good or Bad Thing?

Traditionally, this has been carried out as an annual appraisal.  Usually, these are looked on with trepidation.  The build-up to the day, the 1-2-1 meeting and ultimate judgement on your performance.  Hopefully, it goes well…………. If it doesn’t you end up deflated.

 

As a trainer, I’m evaluated by every participant on every course.  This can be hundreds of evaluations on me every year!   Part of my business is encouraging the unemployed into work.  Supporting them as they overcome issues and doubts along the way.

 

Often, I’ve very lucky to get thank you gifts once people have gone into work and received their first salary.  This endorses my performance evaluation as it’s often a month or two after completion.  It’s really humbling to know I make a profound difference to people who I know will go on and support others.

 

Flowers & chocolates above from Unity & Co – aka Zara & Nabiha Growing Talent 13……..

 

In addition to Growing Talent, the employment programme I devised and run sponsored by PwC, I’m a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Wellbeing Instructor.  Participants evaluate each course as well which is shared with hiring clients.

 

On reflection, I believe it’s much better to not wait until an annual appraisal to find out what others think of you professionally but ask along the way – ‘how am I doing?’, ‘is there something I could do better?’.

 

Giving ourselves the opportunity to reflect on what we do right and what we need to improve, make us much better human beings and work colleagues.

 

 

 

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