Keeping well at work

Change Mental Health, one of our four founding charities, describe their experiences of managing mental health at work.

Frances – CEO

Experiencing stress at work is sadly more common in these days of tight deadlines, constantly seeking funding to deliver essential services, and trying to keep all the balls in the air. Managing that stress starts with our wonderful team – being surrounded by people who are supportive and considerate and who know when to keep their distance and when to put on another pot of coffee is invaluable! And when I go home, on with the trainers and out into the beautiful Angus Countryside before some home-made soup. Magic.

Susan – Innovation Manager

  • I would speak one or two other members of the team and/or my line manager.
  • I write down what tasks I need to do both in and outside of work. This helps me to think more clearly about how and when I am going to do the tasks and a sense of achievement when I can score off a task once complete. I feel I have less to remember when I see the tasks written in front of me.
  • Outside of work I like to walk my dog and ride my scooter. Being outside doing these activities gives me thinking space and time to clear my head. If I am stressed these activities take the stress away.

Kevin – Mental Health & Money Adviser

I speak to my manager or team about the signs of when I’m stressed and have done so a lot in recent weeks, given the stresses I was facing following my mum’s sudden death. I greatly appreciate the ‘family feeling’ from the whole team and have felt very supported/cared for.

Outside of work I tend to catch up with friends to go to concerts or other events. At home, I’ll read or listen to music.

Laura- Project Lead

Working within a mental health setting whilst living with a mental health condition can be a challenge. I’d be made of stone if I said that it doesn’t affect me to hear about other’s struggles on a daily basis, or where the needs and rights of people aren’t currently being met.

Conversely, the organisational culture here is different in a positive way. In other roles, there were times I wasn’t coping well and I would also know that it was probably apparent to others.

However, in other organisations, they wouldn’t necessarily ask. Probably because people worried about saying the wrong thing or potentially felt it was none of their business. Here, people are encouraged to talk if they are having a bad day or struggling and encouraged to share what might help.

Outside of work exercise is important, so even if things are busy, I still try to go to the gym or go for a run at least three times a week. I find sleep better and tend to eat better if I exercise, and sometimes this helps make the periods when I’m feeling my wellbeing slip, feel shorter.

When my wellbeing slips, what makes me feel better isn’t always clear and so to help me remember I write notes when I’m feeling well, that remind me of how doing a certain activity makes me feel. For example, when I don’t feel like seeing friends or showing up to things I’ve organised with family, it’s probably then that I need those people the most. Looking at the notes I wrote when I was feeling well remind me of the importance of spending time with those people, even if I don’t feel like it at the time.

With my team, I try also to have one support and supervision a month that is outside of the office in a café nearby or while we are walking, this helps break the day’s tasks up a little and I find we both relax a lot more. It seems to be these supervisions that I find out more about the person and their lives outside work, and I enjoy these ones a lot more.

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