We have recently kicked off a programme of mental health and wellbeing activity by arranging sessions with Military veterans with huge experience of recovery from mental illness and challenges to enable staff to develop their mental resilience.
The firm has engaged The Eleos Partnership, a team of three Military veterans, Tim Boughton, Olly Church and Tim Rushmere, who draw on their personal insights of their individual recovery journeys and experiences in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Each has overcome life changing mental and physical scars of battle. As part of their mental resilience programme, they share the strategies which they have each developed, which are shown to apply equally to the corporate and professional workplace as well as the military environment.
The Eleos Partnership is currently working with business and sporting organisations across the country, championing the benefits of mental resilience training upon wellbeing and performance.
Managing partner, Peter Taylor, has pioneered the initiative along with Paula Al- Yousif, the firm’s Director of Human Resources. Mr Taylor talks openly of his mental challenges in having had to come to terms mentally with the consequences of renal failure 20 years ago which resulted in him receiving a live related kidney transplant.
Peter Taylor said: “The launch of this programme reflects how highly we as a firm and individuals regard the mental health of our team. National research reveals that nearly half of people living with a mental health issue hide it from their colleagues/employer. Further, statistics show that over half the work places in the country have no mental health support notwithstanding that workplace stress accounts for a significant proportion of sickness days.”
He added “I subscribe to the philosophy that a trouble shared is a trouble halved. My grandfather taught me a wise lesson that showing vulnerability is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Although I personally have no fear in showing vulnerability, I want all our staff to feel able to be themselves and authentic. It is important to me that they have the confidence to approach a trained mental health first aider in the office if the need arises without fear. I want them to know how to manage any stressful situations, and to strengthen their resilience and wellbeing. Being able to recognise the signs in colleagues and knowing how to offer support is part and parcel of an effective team”.
A Commando Pilot for 19 years, Tim Boughton, said at the launch: “It’s vital to remember that no one is invincible. We train our bodies to be fit but do we train our minds to be fit too? We need to apply the same approach to both. We’re living in an age where we are faced with so much negativity in the news and on social media, and are given the opportunity constantly to compare ourselves to others. It’s how you deal with it that is crucial. We’re aware people can be resilient in appearance but there will be stress under the surface. What Paris Smith is doing with this programme is to breakdown any barriers its staff may feel they face and enable an open environment to talk about any hardship, whilst at the same time being given the tools for success and growth.”
Paula Al-Yousif commented: “In addition to the launch of the programme, we have three accredited mental health first aiders in place at Paris Smith, an Employee Assistance Programme and counselling service and BUPA healthcare to support the physical and mental health of all members of the firm”
The firm plans to further its commitment to wellbeing and mental health by offering further similar workshops and a wellbeing week to be held in September.