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4Mind at Channel 4

4Mind is our Mental Health Employee Network.

Why we train our staff in Mental Health First Aid

Stephanie Cox, Head of HR at Channel 4 says: “Diversity is part of our remit; we are known for showcasing ground-breaking content that breaks taboos and challenges conventional thinking – and sure that our colleague training and support reflects what we broadcast to the nation.”

2016 was Channel 4’s Year of Disability, a major commitment to increasing the representation of disabled people within the broadcasting industry, timed to coincide with Channel 4’s status as official Paralympic broadcaster.  Raising awareness around mental health fitted perfectly into this narrative, and Channel 4 rolled out Mental Health First Aid Training for the first time: over 60 staff completed the two day course and became Mental Health First Aiders.

“We are known for showcasing ground-breaking content that breaks taboos and challenges conventional thinking – and we want to make sure that our colleague training and support reflects what we broadcast to the nation.”

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, Channel 4 rolled out a more ambitious programme of events. Further Mental Health First Aid Training took place during the week itself, with additional training scheduled for later in the year too.

Attention-grabbing mental health statistics were shared via all-staff emails, intranet messages, and digital display units within the workplace. There was a series of lunchtime talks on topics such as mental health, young people and technology; mindfulness and meditation; and mental health coping strategies for adults.

The Mental Health First Aiders who were trained during 2016 also came together and launched an internal network, under the name 4Mind, with an intranet page and communications about the ways that they can support staff.

All of this activity was also reflected on-screen, as mental health campaigners like Ruby Wax, Stephen Fry, and Alastair Campbell took over continuity announcing duties for the week.

Claire Naik, Internal Communications Manager, says: "By understanding and influencing what different internal groups were doing, we were able to create a clear, cohesive message to the business. We brought together lots of different strands and the end result was a simple and memorable message about the importance of managing your mental health."

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