National Stress Awareness Month

Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month?! This initiative aims to raise awareness of the negative impact of stress and it’s important to shine a light on this topic not just today but every day.

Our Senior Account Manager Teresa Riley qualified as Motivate’s first Mental Health First Aider on a course run by MHFA England last August. We caught up with her to learn more about her role and how we can all prioritise our mental wellbeing.

Why did you become a Mental Health First Aider?

There is such a stigma around mental health – but everyone has it; sometimes it’s good, and sometimes bad. I wanted it to be something it was okay to talk about at work.

What does your role entail?

I raise the profile of mental health. I am not trained to give advice, but I can support and guide and signpost ways to access help from trained professionals. For example, for suicide prevention week, I shared content internally with stats and information. This isn’t something we should be afraid to talk about – and I had a lot of responses from colleagues.

What important advice do you have?

Walk away from your desk – don’t be bound to it for 8 hours a day
Don’t be afraid to say you need support if you are struggling.
Make sure you can be open as an organisation so people can talk. Take away the taboos so there is no fear of how they will be perceived.
Prevention is better than cure. A lot of the stats show if we can help people sooner in their lives, it’s far better than waiting.

Get actively involved in projects known to support mental health. At Motivates, each employee gets two wellness days a year for anything. Some head to an allotment, others bake or go walking – you don’t have to justify the reason for it. Alongside that, there are two volunteer days a year as well, and most of them choose to help out with a local adventure playground repair work and gardening – another way to get people helping.

What to share with colleagues: Teresa’s Top Resources

Ten strategies for coping with stress at work – MindWell

Mindfulness exercises and tips – Mind

Free Online Mindfulness Sessions – Oxford Mindfulness Centre

Free Stress Guide – The Stress Management Society