Mental Health Awareness Event Feature

On Thursday 19 September, the Young MCA teamed up with consulting firm PPL, and the Arthur Ellis Foundation to run a mental health awareness event to provide young consultants with practical tools and tips for managing mental health at work.

Attendees had a chance to network before Iyoni Ranasinghe (PPL, Senior Consultant) kicked off the session with an overview of what to expect during throughout the rest of the evening.

This was followed by a session by Arthur Ellis Foundation, who specialise in supporting wellbeing at work. Their mission is to help the UK become #IndependentFromIllness by teaching staff, children and young people how to understand and recover from mental health issues. They started their session with a practical warm up of simulations replicating anxiety-provoking scenarios, then shared some evidence-based psychology tools people can use to manage those symptoms and begin to have a positive impact on their mental health.

The ‘grounding technique’ is a helpful way to refocus and find calmness in the moment, particularly when you might be feeling anxious or stressed. This involves finding 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and lastly 1 thing you can taste.

Arthur Ellis’s session was followed by a panelist discussion, including Rita Mistry (Arthur Ellis Foundation), Dr Folarin Majekodunmi (PPL, Associate Director) and Natasha Larkin (PPL, Senior Organisational Development Lead), around personal experiences and coping techniques for balancing successful careers with mental health.

One of the biggest challenges we face today is admitting ‘it’s okay not to be okay’. Rita mentioned having a support network can be helpful in the workplace where you can discuss your emotions, as well as the benefits of setting up one to one mentoring schemes. Folarin discussed his personal experiences with mental health and how talking about what you’re going through can help. He suggested that if you see someone in a similar situation, acknowledging them and simply asking ‘would you like to talk about it?’, can have a massive impact. Natasha Larkin shared similar experiences and described the three strategies she uses to maintain wellbeing at work: recognising the triggers that might undermine your wellbeing, identifying the ‘red flags’ that might signal that you’re not coping, and finally being confident to ask for help before you reach crisis point.

Words by Saleena Saeed, PPL Consulting