Mental health and wellbeing are a critical part of our day to day lives, it impacts how we think, feel and act during the variety of situations we face in our lifetime. These are especially important considerations in the modern work place. We caught up with Daniel Horan following his attendance at a talk on mental health and personal wellbeing in IT.
As the Product Owner for the Testing Service at FDM, I have always considered a good understanding of mental health and personal wellbeing as it an important part of my role. I provide support to hundreds of software testing consultants deployed across a variety of FDM client sites. This support can vary from technical support to career guidance, to training and professional development as well as personal wellbeing. Therefore, being knowledgeable on the subjects of mental health and personal wellbeing enables me to provide effective support in those areas.
An opportunity to acquire further knowledge on those subjects came around recently at the FDM Sponsored Ministry of Testing Meetup in Leeds. The main topic of the event was delivered by a Senior Tester from the BBC and covered mental health in the workplace. A number of other FDMers and I jumped at this opportunity to find out more.
I learnt a great deal from the talk as it covered a wide range of topics and went into detail on some things I had never considered before. The biggest learning points from the talk for me were:
- Employers are beginning to recognise the importance of mental health and are putting support measures in place such as the rollout of Employee Assistance Programmes and training members of staff to become qualified Mental Health First Aiders
- When supporting somebody, you need to follow their lead and help them deal with the issue they are experiencing at that very moment rather than the longer-term issue
I also learnt a few phrases you can say, or things you can do, when offering support:
- I’m sorry you are feeling that way
- I’m glad you spoke to me, what can I do to help?
- Aim to empower the person to solve their problems
- Offer to introduce the person to someone trained who can support them properly
- Make the dialogue interactive
Learning more about mental health and personal wellbeing is something I encourage everyone to do. A good starting point is checking out a mental health charity called Mind who offer great advice.
FDM have recently launched a wellbeing initiative with a 24-hour confidential support line and over 30 trained mental health first aiders throughout the UK who are on hand to offer first stage assistance.