The pandemic definitely shone a light on people’s mental health. Beyond the physical challenges, many were worried and distressed by what was happening in the world and by all the uncertainty.
However, at Ikano Bank Nottingham, there has always been a strong focus on co-workers’ well-being and acknowledgment that this is a significant part of being able to provide the best service for our customers.
I found it incredibly positive when I joined Ikano Bank in 2019, that the Mental Health First Aiders (MFHAs) were discussed within our training. It was explained that they are there as a point of contact and reassurance for anyone who may be struggling. They listen without judgement and suggest useful resources or places where they can go for help, such as a free counselling phoneline.
At the start of the pandemic, we had five MHFAs. However, with the rise in contact from co-workers due to everyone not being able to see loved ones and the anxiety of an unknown illness, they weren’t able to cover the support needed. This is when HR reached out to a company called Red Umbrella who provided webinars to support co-workers in not only dealing with their own issues but also in how they could offer the best service to our customers who were dealing with similar problems.
In addition to the webinars, Red Umbrella offered the service to train more MHFAs. This is where I and 14 others were given the opportunity to partake in a week of training. With such a large number of us, it showed just how much Ikano wants to drive change and offer continuous support even after the pandemic.
Afterall, happy and healthy co-workers are more productive than stressed ones, so although the issue of mental health at the workplace might not be a financial one, there are certainly economic benefits to offering support to our co-workers.