Digital Insight and Analytics Manager Dan tells us more about being a Mental Health First Aider and the importance on focusing on your mental health.
I wanted to help
When the opportunity to become a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) presented itself, I jumped at the chance. There is nothing worse than being confronted with a situation whereby someone is in pain or distress and you don’t know what the best course of action to take is. Life will always expose you to these situations. I have experienced quite few previously and although I know I dealt with them as well as I could have, I was left asking myself what more could I have done? I’m really excited to be part of the wellbeing team and increase my knowledge around mental health.
Being a Mental Health First Aider means a lot to me
It’s a big responsibility to take on but one that is much in demand. The extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in currently mean that more and more individuals will experience poor mental health. From my perspective, I want to help my colleagues get through those challenges, know that they aren’t alone and help break down those barriers to people being more open to discussing mental health. At Hastings, we have a fantastic and diverse team of MHFA’s supporting colleagues and each other as well. It’s great to be part of that.
As I get older, mental health means more to me
I think when you are younger you focus almost solely on your physical health. It’s easier to do so, if you feel pain you know you are injured. Mental health is less easy to assess. The shift can be more subtle and you have to be more aware emotionally of how you are feeling. I have learnt to recognise when I am not feeling on top form and accept that no one feels at their best every day, mentally or physically. I now know the key for me is to talk about how I am feeling, something which men in particular struggle with. Having that conversation helps me gain perspective. The second key thing for me is to appreciate what is around me and not to take it for granted.
Balance is the key to a happy and healthy lifestyle
Eat nutritionally but treat yourself occasionally. Do exercise but also try and get enough sleep (in my case, even with three young kids). Make time to look after yourself as well as those around you. Engage with your true friends and keep nurturing the bond you have. Absolutely have aspects that you want to improve but also give yourself a pat on the back for the good that you do. Finally the most important lesson I had to learn was that I had to think more like a river. Life will always throw up obstacles and opportunities. It’s not possible to control which you will face next. But if your approach is flexible, you will be able to continue on your journey and who knows what awaits around the next bend.
Find out more about our wellbeing programme here.