Traffix | Looking for the signals and making the right move
Looking out for one another is part and parcel of life in the Traffix family. However, the stigma of admitting problems with mental health sometimes prevents people from turning to colleagues for fear of becoming further isolated.
Traffix has taken steps to ensure that should someone in the team find themselves in need of help, there are colleagues trained to come to their aid. Three members of staff – Olivia Osborne, Aftab Maheen and Phil Goldsmith recently attended a two day Mental Health First Aid course.
For Project Manager Phil Goldsmith becoming a First Aider was important: “Kerry Draper and I attended a health and safety seminar which included a presentation on mental health. It resonated with me and I thought am I struggling at times? We work in a tough environment that perhaps doesn’t encourage opening up about personal problems, I proposed that we should do something to address this.
“The MHFA course was very intense, there was much to learn and also many situations to consider. We were encouraged to discuss issues we have experienced personally, I opened up about issues I have faced and so did others, it was good to discuss things in the open and know that nobody was judging you. Which feeds directly into the reasons we were on the course.
“I am now one of three first responders for mental health issues at Traffix. We’re not pretending to be fully qualified councillors, we are here to listen, to be that all important first line of communication. There are guidelines we have to follow, if we think someone needs to seek professional help we’ll recommend that route, otherwise we can start regular one-to-one discussions.“
Human Resources Manager Olivia Osborne is equally delighted to be part of the MHFA crew: “I’ve noticed a higher percentage of people identifying that they are struggling either through direct feedback or via line managers. Through our ‘return to work’ procedures we’re seeing more stress and anxiety right now, mainly as a result of the pressure being felt due to the cost of living crunch.
“Attending the MHFA course has made such a difference, in particular identifying symptoms and signs that you wouldn’t readily think of or recognise, it has already enabled me to spot a couple of early signs that somebody might be struggling. It’s good to be able to catch it early and in confidence just ask someone if they are okay, do they need any support?
“We sent an email to all staff advising that Phil, Aftab and myself are now mental health first aiders, the response was very positive and I think a lot of people appreciated what we’ve done.
“The course covered psychology, our tutor actually banned a word from the room, that word was ‘crazy’. It’s a word used in everyday life – ‘so and so is crazy’, however, I wouldn’t use the words crazy, mental or nutter to describe anyone. That person whoever they are is obviously struggling, they don’t want to be in their position, it’s not a choice, what they need is the right help. It’s all about awareness and being there for people when they need you.”