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Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 60 seconds with…

Category: Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Week, UK Athletics, sport, wellness, first-aid

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 60 seconds with…

Ellen Butcher, UK Athletics Mental Health First Aider


What made you want to become a Mental Health First Aider?

Initially I didn’t know there was such a thing as a Mental Health First Aider but I was glad to see that there is a recognised way for employers to properly support the wellbeing of their staff. The MHFA England course that I had the opportunity to attend was amazing and whilst I’ve always considered myself a good listener and perceptive to people’s moods, the course information has given me the confidence to approach a colleague who appears to be struggling, then support and signpost them to professional help if necessary.


How long have been a Mental Health First Aider?

I became a Mental Health First Aider in June 2018 and it has proved worthwhile in many situations since that time


How important is it to have Mental Health First Aiders available in the workplace?

Mental health issues in the workplace are common, especially depression, anxiety and problems related to stress. We spend a large part of our daily lives at work and so it is highly likely we will encounter a colleague who is suffering or has suffered from mental ill health. Stress, depression or anxiety can have a huge effect on us, with work pressures often simply adding to those happening in our home or family lives. Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace can notice common warning signs and offer support to colleagues where needed. What are your thoughts on this year’s theme of MHAW; body image? I’m just so thankful that social media was not a thing when I was going through my teenage years!!! Our perception of ourselves is powerful and constant comparison to others can lead to poor mental health. It is an area that needs a lot of work through Schools and Colleges, in our homes and in the media, with the emphasis on positive body image and being proud of who we are.


What do we as a sport do well around mental health?

Obviously mass participation events are great for encouraging people outdoors to exercise and as we all know, there is so much evidence around exercise being mood-boosting. As an organisation we also offer welfare support to athletes who leave the sport through injury or retirement as this can be a stressful and unsettling time for them.


What do you do for your own wellbeing?

In all honesty I could do more, certainly with regards regularity, but I walk most lunchtimes, I enjoy yoga and I have a mindfulness app on my phone. A big stressor for me used to be my commute to and from work and I now listen to audiobooks during that time. It has made a huge difference and my ‘minor road rage’ has reduced no end as a result. I talk with my friends, I try not to take life too seriously and I take time out when I need to. Most of all I try to recognise when I need that extra self-care.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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