Staff at Huntingdonshire District Council supported World Mental Health Day last week (10 October) by holding cake sales which raised £367.75 for the charity Mind. The council’s senior leadership team also joined in, making their contributions with home-made cakes and helping to highlight the importance of understanding and talking about mental health.
Staff were also encouraged to visit a Calm Room where they could take 5 minutes for themselves, or take the opportunity to chat with one of the council’s 17 newly qualified mental health first aiders, who were presented with their certificates at the cake sale by Managing Director, Jo Lancaster. Mental health first aiders have undergone two days training on how to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support. They are available to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis, potentially helping to stop a crisis from happening.
The District Council is also planning to sign the #timetochange pledge, along with hundreds of other employers in England, to demonstrate its commitment to change how we all think about mental health in the workplace, and to make sure that employees who are facing these problems feel supported.
The council’s Chairman, Councillor Richard West also attended the event, and said: "Being able to talk about mental health is something we should all feel comfortable doing, and it’s great to see the Council taking steps to support staff and encourage them to do so. The cake sale was also a good opportunity for staff to meet our new mental health first aiders."