Although every year as many as one-in-four of us may experience distress, it doesn’t make it any easier to start a conversation about mental health and how people are feeling.
What are Mental Health Allies?
A mental health ally is someone who takes action to raise awareness of mental health and challenge stigma. Stigma occurs when people make negative assumptions. In turn, this makes it more likely that they will be labelled as different, strange, or even dangerous.
The role of the trained Mental Health Ally is to raise awareness to those who need support with their mental health of the support and resources available. It is also their role to challenge negative perceptions of mental health, if they feel safe and able to do so
Benefits of the Scheme
- A mechanism to support all staffs’ mental health
- To cultivate a sense of cohesion and community within staff
- To enhance a culture of equality and diversity in the organisation
- Reduce costs to the organisation associated with sickness absence due to mental ill health
- Reduce staff turnover by retention of staff who leave due to symptoms of mental ill health
Who can be a Mental Health Ally?
Allies do not need personal experience of mental health. Those who do have lived experience of mental health may find it helps them to start conversations and challenge stigma. All that is required is a genuine desire to support people with mental health needs and to put that desire into action
Being an ally is a voluntary role
As with any volunteer role, people are choosing to invest their time, so it should be a positive experience for both the ally and the organisation. As part of the initiative, the ally will:
- have a clear purpose for the role
- bring their own skills and experiences to the role
- be empowered to develop new skills and experiences
- be able to understand set and maintain appropriate boundaries
- be clear on the help available to support their own and other people’s, mental health.
Expression of Interest – if you would like to be come a Mental Health Ally then email Equalityanddiversity@kent.ac.uk with the following information or request a copy of the role description and details of the training.
- Why are you interested in becoming a mental health ally?
- What skills and experiences can you bring to the role of a mental health ally?
- What support do you think you will need as a mental health ally?
- Why do you think mental health awareness in the workplace is important?
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org