Healthy minds matter
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week for 2021 is ‘nature,’ writes Zoe Walker.
And it’s an apt theme – given that over the past year, many of us have sought – and found - refuge from the pandemic in the great outdoors.
Going for walks outside has been one of our top strategies for coping with Covid-19, with 45% of us reporting being in green spaces as vital for our mental health.
A number of posties have spoken about the bittersweet mental health benefits of working through the pandemic too – mentioning on the one hand the heavy emotional and psychological burden of going out and about while everyone else was inside or shielding. But on the other hand, reporting the mental health boosts they got from keeping to a regular routine, playing a vital part in keeping the country moving, and having the freedom to roam and connect with otherwise isolated customers while out on their rounds.
But mental health awareness is not a new topic or a flash in the pan for Royal Mail. It’s something we are serious about. A winner of many awards for our “Because Mental Health Matters” five-year mental health strategy and activity, we continue to look at how we can improve and innovate.
Dr Shaun Davis, director compliance and sustainability, leads the charge as an industry-wide expert on the topic.
He says: ‘Mental health is an area that both personally and professionally I am really, really keen on – we have done a lot of work in this area and will continue to do that.’
And so deep does awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing run within the business, that it even informs the conversations with have with our unions.
‘We have been working on a culture sub-group with CWU where mental health is a strong backbone running throughout,’ says Shaun. ‘Hopefully we will be in a position to share that pretty soon.
‘It has been a tough year for people – physically and mentally,’ he says. ‘But this is another area where we work really strongly with our unions.’
Shaun’s also passionate about the importance of the role of our health and wellbeing ambassadors – who are growing in numbers, we currently have 600 across the business.
He says: ‘The role of the local volunteer ambassadors is incredibly important.
‘We continue to support the ambassador programme and continue to educate people and to give them the tools that they can use within their individual workplaces. The ambassadors have really managed to go out there and really push physical, mental and financial health messaging for us – it has been fantastic and I'm incredibly grateful for that.’
For more information visit:
First Class Support
The First Class Support service is completely confidential and independent. Visit www.rmgfirstclasssupport.co.uk or download the ‘Lifeworks’ app to access health assessments, tailored support programmes and content.
Call 0345 266 5060 or use the online chat facility via the website or app if you would like to talk to someone about any physical or mental health-related matter, for lifestyle advice, or for direct access to counselling treatments.
New users of the website or app can sign up using a unique invitation code, which is ‘RMG-‘ and your payroll number, for example RMG-12345678.
Other support is available
On the Health and Wellbeing Intranet pages, our Feeling First Class – Mental Health page includes stress guidance, support and training as well as signposting to internal and external mental health support services.
Rowland Hill Fund: 0345 600 4586 www.rowlandhillfund.org offering financial aid to colleagues, pensioners and their families in times of need.
Shout Mental Health Text Service is a free, nationwide, 24/7, text-based service. Text Shout to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer.
Mind: Information and guidance around managing your mental health and wellbeing at this time.
Rethink Mental Illness: Resources for looking after your wellbeing and managing your money during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Neyber: Through My Bundle’s Financial Wellbeing option you can access debt consolidation loans and financial education. Log into My Bundle through PSP or visit mybundle.myroyalmail.com.
Stepchange: Offering expert, tailored advice and practical solutions to problem debt, contact the UK’s leading debt charity on 0800 138 1111 or visit www.stepchange.org.
The National Domestic Abuse helpline is available, including for concerned friends. Call 0808 2000 247 freephone 24 hours a day or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk.
Cruse Bereavement Care: Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or visit www.cruse.org.uk.
For urgent mental health support in a crisis: call the Samaritans on 116 123 (open 24/7) or in the case of a suicide or other emergency situation, ring 999, or 9999 from a Royal Mail landline.
If you are worried that someone is at immediate risk of taking their own life you should stay with that person and take one of the following steps:
- Encourage them to call the First Class Support helpline (open 24/7) or the Samaritans on 116 123 (open 24/7)
- Contact their GP for an emergency appointment or the out of hours support service
- Call their Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) if they have one
- Ring 999 (9999 from a Royal Mail landline), NHS direct (111) or go to the nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.