On National Work Life Week, we asked two of the Hub's Assistant Psychologists to share some of their own experiences of working in workforce wellbeing and what staff can do to promote positive mental health.
Hello there, we are Charlene Sibanda and Sarah Warburton and we work for the West Yorkshire Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub.
I'm Charlene and I was inspired to become a psychologist by several different factors including my background and loved ones, but mainly to make a positive different and provide people the space to be their best selves during a turbulent time. I love helping others and listening to people's stories, so psychology was always going to find its way to me - I practically fell into it!
I'm Sarah and my first true love has been sports and athletics. I always thought I'd end up working in sports psychology be came to realise that the themes involving stress and burnout are commonplace in almost all workplaces, not just in the sports world, and that's when I knew I wanted to help towards an environment that promotes positive change.
Between us, we have worked and volunteered across many sectors including IAPT as a psychological wellbeing practitioner, psychiatric intensive care units (PICU) and working with people with neurodiversity. Throughout our time working in these environments, it's clear that workplace stress and compassion fatigue are common issues for staff. This is why the West Yorkshire Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub is so important.
It's never too late to ask for help or support. We work in an overwhelming and challenging environment, so it is important to take time to centre yourself and do something you enjoy. This can be anything from taking a bath, to walking the dog, and sitting down in front of the TV for a few hours.
Some of our favourite things we do to look after our own mental wellbeing include DIY projects, playing rugby and going to the gym, cooking a nice meal, or escaping into the world of a good book.
An analogy that's always helpful is if your car broke down on the hard shoulder of the motorway, you wouldn't think twice about calling a repair company and asking for roadside assistance. You wouldn't feel shame or guilt in this. So why feel shame about asking for support for your mental health?
Make sure to prioritise yourself and your own wellbeing. If you work in a health and care environment and are experiencing feelings that are difficult to cope with, our mental health workers are here to support you now and find the extra help that is right for you.
The Hub is completely confidential, wherever you work or volunteer, and offers free advice and support that can help with a range of issues including sleep, stress or burnout, and anxiety.
You can also listen to our series of podcasts, including one from Hub therapist Ross Aspinall on how to manage stress.