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Mental Health Awareness Week: Kris’ Blog

Discover the journey of personal interest in mental wellbeing and workplace support at Something Familiar. From studying psychology to becoming a Mental Health First Aider, Kris shares his commitment to creating a positive culture and open conversations.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 is an opportunity to take stock of how we’re feeling, how we’re coping and to check in on others too. The theme for this year’s MHAW is anxiety, one of the most common mental health problems we can face and something that always looms large in the agency environment.

Something Familiar has always been good at having conversations about mental wellbeing, and involving everyone here in activities that help us to look after ourselves and each other. We’ll take a specific look at those things in our next blog, but for today, I thought I’d take you through my own personal interest in mental wellbeing, and why I’m particularly proud to be part of a team that’s had it on the agenda since it first started doing business.

My interest was piqued at college while I was studying for my Marketing A-Level. This course was made up of multiple modules, and one of those covered psychology. The basis of it was customer behaviour, but I found the idea of trying to understand what potential customers were thinking, and how we could influence those thoughts, absolutely fascinating.

With this trigger, I started learning more about psychology… but soon realised it wasn’t a good career choice for me. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I could see myself focusing too much on what made people tick, unpicking every single conversation to get to some hidden meaning! I took a step back, and instead focused on other areas of my course. That decision led to me studying Marketing at university, and ultimately saw me join Something Familiar as an Account Manager.

Workplace Mental Health First Aid

But that’s leaping ahead. Before that, in a previous role I had the opportunity to become a Mental Health: Workplace First Aider. This is something that more and more companies are implementing – and it makes sense. Every company has ‘physical’ first aiders, so why not people who can do the same thing for mental wellbeing too?

The two-day course was run by St John Ambulance, and just like the traditional first aid courses, it prepared me to be a first responder. What does that mean in terms of mental health? Firstly it gave me an understanding of mental health, and factors that can have an effect on it. Secondly, it provided me with the tools to spot the signs that someone may be struggling, and how to support them, often by signposting professional help.

The course covered a broad range of topics, such as suicide signs and symptoms, eating disorders, self harm and psychosis. It’s clearly a very heavy subject area, but I would recommend it to every business out there as I certainly feel more confident that if one of my colleagues was having a hard time, I’d be able to spot it and know how to help.

A Positive Culture

The final part of the course focused on ways to create a positive culture in the workplace. When I joined Something Familiar last year, I was very pleased to see that it already had plenty of things in place to encourage that.

From group activities, to an open and honest environment that enables conversations about how we’re feeling about work, our lives and anything and everything else, Something Familiar is an agency that embraces all of the things that lead to good mental wellbeing in a potentially stressful environment.

If you would like to know more about our culture, check out SF’s blog on Mental Health Awareness Week…

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