How Exemplar Health Care supports mental health at work

10 September 2020

A Support Worker sat with a resident with a cup of tea

We all have times when life gets on top of us – sometimes at home and sometimes at work. Exemplar Health Care is committed to supporting colleague mental health and wellbeing at work through a range of support and initiatives including our Mental Health First Aiders and Employee Assistance Programme.

Mental health is something that we all have. When we enjoy good mental health, we have a sense of purpose and direction, the energy to do the things that we want to do, and the ability to deal with any challenges that we come across – and these are all of the things that we want our colleagues to experience when they work at Exemplar Health Care.

However, we know that everyone experiences times when they feel down, stressed or frightened.

At Exemplar Health Care, our Health and Wellbeing Strategy includes a range of initiatives to support colleague mental health and wellbeing at work, including our 33-strong team of Mental Health First Aiders.

Mental Health First Aiders

Our Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) provide mental health advice and support to colleagues across our 32 homes and central offices.

Alan Dalzell, Mental Health Nurse Consultant at Exemplar Health Care, says: “Supporting mental health is important because it helps people to feel more healthy, motivated and focused, which can improve productivity and effectiveness at work, as well as in their home and social life. 

“It’s really important that our colleagues know that they have someone to talk to, and that we’re here to support them if they have any mental health issues. In some cases, it could be the difference between staying in work and leaving employment.” 

World Suicide Prevention Day - 10 September 2020

The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. 

The theme of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘working together to prevent suicide’, and we’re sharing how one colleague’s personal experience of suicide motivated them to become a Mental Health First Aider and support others.

They told us: “Suicide is a reason I became a MHFA to begin with. Six years ago I had to make one of the hardest calls of my life when my brother-in-law hung himself in his dad’s garage - he was 18. My partner was working and couldn’t be contacted so his mum called me - the pain in her voice was unimaginable.

“I eventually got through to his sister – my partner. I was shaking – no one should ever have to make that call.

“No one knew why he did what he did - there were no tell-tale signs - he was well loved and seemingly had everything to live for, and the funeral was so packed that people were sat outside.

“The truth is that no one knows what’s going on in someone’s head - what one person takes as a minor hiccup can be another person’s final straw.

“I jumped at the chance to become a MHFA to help in some small way – the training and support I’ve received in the role has given me the tools to not just ask the right questions but to be confident to follow up no matter what the answers might be.

“In the few months since I became a MHFA I’ve managed to help more than a few people, even if sometimes all someone needs is a chat and a cup of tea. If more people have the tools that were unavailable only a few years ago, then perhaps we can all save someone from having to make that call.”

How Exemplar Health Care supports mental health at work

As well as our incredible team of MHFAs, all Exemplar Health Care colleagues have access to a 24/7 support and counselling through our award-winning Employee Assistance Programme with Health Assured.

The programme provides confidential support, information and advice about things such as stress, pregnancy, relationships issues, bereavement, legal information, health, debt, landlords, neighbours or nutrition.

If you’re an Exemplar Health Care colleague and would like to know more about how we can support you at work, please speak to your Manager or visit the ‘Health and wellbeing’ section of My Exemplar.

Rewarding careers in care with a supportive employer

If you’re looking for your next role in social care, and want to work for an employer that supports and invests in you, read more about our rewards and benefits and find our latest vacancies.