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Case Study17 May 2022

I volunteer as a mental health first aider

Jessie is a mental health first aider for Clarion Housing Group. She shares how she supported her colleagues during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jessie, mental health first aider

Jessie is a mental health first aider for Clarion. She shares what her role is like and how she helped her colleagues during the pandemic.   

Encouraging a positive culture around mental health

Day-to-day I’m a property services performance analyst at Clarion, in the team responsible for helping make sure our homes are well-maintained and safe. But I’m also one of Clarion’s mental health first aiders. This scheme was launched at Clarion before the pandemic, and no one could have guessed how important it would become given the challenges ahead.

It relies on staff volunteers who act as ‘first aiders’ for colleagues who are struggling with their mental health. We’re a friendly face they can approach completely confidentially. We are here to listen and guide and sign-post people to appropriate support if needed. I have received specific training to encourage people to talk more freely about mental health, reduce stigma and create a positive culture around it.

At Clarion we have a big emphasis on being able to fully be yourself at work. For people that might have been struggling with their mental health before the pandemic, not having the usual distractions or not being able to deploy some of their tried and tested coping mechanisms will have only compounded the problem. Even for the people that were not struggling beforehand, suddenly finding themselves working from home, with significantly reduced social interaction, can start to take its toll.

I like to help people and have always been told that I’m a good listener and very approachable. If I had a problem and wanted to talk something through, I’d want someone down to earth like myself to be there.