Kelsey Lewis, a mental health first aider at the U.K Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), has written this great article about her role and the support available to her and her colleagues. It highlights the importance of a holistic approach to mental wellbeing within an organisation, of which mental health first aid is only a part.
The article first appeared in the June 2022 CIPA Journal (an issue devoted to equality, diversity and inclusivity) and subsequently on the IP Inclusive website.
Jonathan’s Voice is very grateful to CIPA, IPO and IP Inclusive for permission to share it on our website.
“My name’s Kelsey and I’m one of the mental health first aiders at IPO. I applied for the role as poor mental health is something I’ve experienced myself, particularly after losing a family member to suicide. I was keen to use my experiences to help IPO create and maintain an environment where mental health is discussed openly, something we’ve made great strides towards in recent years. It’s great to be a part of an organisation that is so passionate about supporting colleagues who are struggling.
IPO has a goal to become an organisation where mental health issues are truly understood and de-stigmatised. To support this, our first mental health strategy was launched in 2016 to support the Government priorities for health and wellbeing in the Civil Service. In this strategy (and the updated versions since), we pledged to support the wellbeing of our people through a range of activities including:
- Our staff counselling service
- Training for managers
- Launching our employee assistance programme
- The introduction of our mental health first aiders
- A peer-to-peer support group
- Encouraging the use of Wellbeing Action Plans
- Daily mindfulness and meditation lunchtime sessions
- Creation of “The Haven”, a safe space in the IPO building for anyone needing a break from the office environment”
Read the full article here https://ipinclusive.org.uk/newsandfeatures/mental-health-first-aid-at-the-ipo/