A mental health expert and Wellbeing Manager is reflecting on almost two years of supporting businesses and their employees with mental health and wellbeing.

Kerry Mitchell joined the newly-launched Paycare Wellbeing, sharing the city centre location with not-for-profit organisation Paycare – in October 2019 and has since trained hundreds of managers, teams and individuals.

Her initial range of Mental Health First Aid England accredited courses has been expanded to include virtual as well as face-to-face training, spurred on by the steep trend for working remotely in 2020. Almost a year ago the organisation witnessed more businesses than ever seeking support for mental health training. The team reacted with the development of free monthly e-clinics on topics such as stress, bereavement, workplace wellbeing and yoga.

Kerry said: “The e-clinics were a way of giving something back during a really tough time and we were thrilled to see so many people supporting the idea, culminating in our most well-attended session last month (July). Each time we see familiar faces who want to soak up even more knowledge from the research we collate and the guest speakers we invite along, as well as new faces who are particularly interested in the topic we have chosen for that month’s session.”

The e-clinics are free to attend, and run for just one hour, but such is their popularity that Kerry and her team have gone on to provide further training for multiple attendees who have been impressed by the insight and expertise offered during the sessions.

One example was the staff at Wolverhampton Wanderers, who signed up for MHFA courses with Kerry after some of the team joined an e-clinic at the beginning of 2021.

Kerry adds: “When I joined Paycare Wellbeing, mental health was already a topic that was being talked about by managers and team leaders – but little did we know what was around the corner, and as a result of the pandemic so many more organisations have realised why it’s so important for their teams to be physically and mentally healthy.

“I’ve had so many inspiring conversations as part of my role, where I’ve heard about fantastic ways in which companies are supporting their staff, and the feedback we receive after completing training with businesses across the country has been incredible.

“I believe talking about mental health is essential – it’s only by being open and honest within workplaces that we can ensure our colleagues are truly okay and that we can begin to normalise mental ill health, realising that mental and physical health are equally as important.”

Workplace wellbeing was the topic Kerry and the team chose for their July e-clinic, which was so popular that they are set to repeat the session in September.

Guest speaker Felicity Wingrove (psycholinguist and MD of Zen Communications) will return on Monday 6th at 11am for a second Mental Health Awareness for Managers session.

Felicity, whose team have all undertaken MHFA training with Paycare Wellbeing, said: “Workplace wellbeing isn’t just a buzz phrase or tick-box exercise for us. At Zen, we believe in providing an environment where our team can truly thrive. It makes sense from a commercial point of view as well as being simply the right thing to do.

“Kerry’s genuine passion for wellbeing training, and the compelling way in which she shares her knowledge, mean Paycare Wellbeing was the obvious choice for our staff mental health training. I was delighted to be asked to speak again at the e-clinic in September, to share some more insights into the culture, approach and policies we have in place here at Zen with regards to the emotional health of the team.”

Since 1874, Paycare (formerly known as Patient’s Aid Association) has worked to help individuals, families, businesses, and their employees access a variety of preventative and reactive healthcare services which protect their financial, physical and mental health and wellbeing. Its dedicated mental health service — Paycare Wellbeing — launched in 2019 and provides qualified and confidential training to Corporate Groups including Managers, CEOs and HR teams.

Harriet Ernstsons-Evans
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