24th July is Samaritans Awareness Day, a campaign to remind the public that the Samaritans are available for anyone who needs them to listen. Our Mental Health First Aiders, Jasmine and Kourtney highlight the importance of mental health awareness in the workplace, the power of speaking out, and why services like the Samaritans are so vital.
What is the Samaritans?
Samaritans is a charity which aims to provide support to anybody in emotional distress, struggling to cope with their mental health, or at risk of suicide. Samaritans is available throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
What is a Mental Health First Aider?
A mental health first aider’s role in the workplace is to act as a first point of contact for their colleagues who may be struggling with their mental health. Kourtney and Jasmine are CEL Solicitors’ qualified mental health first aiders. We spoke to them about their commitment to supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace and the importance of seeking out help when you need it.
Mental Health First Aider: Kourtney
As a mental health first aider at CEL Solicitors, my main goal is to encourage open and honest discourse surrounding mental health. I always reiterate the importance of talking.
More often than not, instead of talking about our issues, we resort to bottling them up. This may feel like the safest option, but all this does is lead us to feel completely alone in our experiences.
When dealing with my own mental health in the past, I suffered alone to the point where it completely ate away at me. It was around this time when I decided to seek help. I attended weekly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and group therapy sessions. This was truly a transitional point in my life – I felt really pleased with myself. Talking through my issues brought me a lot of comfort and allowed me to heal.
We all desire to connect with the people around us. Depression and anxiety can make us feel extremely isolated in our circumstances, but you’d be surprised how many people have dealt with and are dealing with the exact same thing as you. Services like the Samaritans are there to take the weight off your shoulders. Making the decision to talk might not feel rewarding at first, but it’s something that you will thank yourself for later.
Mental Health First Aider: Jasmine
Part of our aim as the mental health first aid team is to destigmatize the issues surrounding mental ill-health. One of the ways in which we try to do this is to start honest conversations on the topic. Last year, each of the mental health first aiders delivered a talk discussing their own mental health battles with a goal to encourage others to open up without fear of judgement. This was instrumental in kick-staring conversations across the firm.
The mental health first aid team at CEL are always here for anyone who needs to talk, whether that’s a chat on the beanbags, the ‘think-swings’, or over a cup of coffee outside the office. Similarly, the Samaritans are available for anybody who requires help. I strongly believe that opening up and talking through your issues is always a step in the right direction, and my hope is that this Samaritans awareness campaign encourages people to make that decision.
Supporting Mental Health at CEL Solicitors
At CEL Solicitors, we firmly believe that ‘Your Health is Your Wealth’. That’s why it’s emblazoned, in pink neon writing, in our amphitheatre – a safe place where we meet each week and take part in a ‘snap hat’. Members of the firm will write a comment praising their peers work and place it in the snap hat. As we gather on a Friday afternoon, staff members take turns in reading the comments out loud. This allows us to end the week on a positive and inspired note.
We have a lot of plans in the pipeline to support the mental wellbeing of our team. One thing that we’re really looking forward to is the ‘anonymous snap hat’. Instead of writing comments of praise, team members will write down something that they are particularly struggling with. Staff will then take turns in reading out the snaps and discuss how they think the issue can be tackled. The conversation will then be opened to the floor for further contribution. The anonymous snap hat is there to reassure our team that they are not alone in their struggles. We did this last year for Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month and it was found to be extremely therapeutic. We’re excited to open this up to the rest of the firm as we expand and continue to prioritise mental wellbeing.
Contact a Samaritan
The Samaritans urge anybody who needs help to seek it. Whatever you are going through, the Samaritans are free any time, from any phone, on 116 123.
Writing a letter can be a personal and safe way for you to get your feelings across. You can write to the Samaritans at Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS.
You can also email the Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org