What do we really do?
It is important to explain in real terms what actually forms most of the work that is done without the spin and the clever marketing words we (ok, I) switch off from reading.
So here goes.
Work is predominantly either the MHFA England adult courses (2-day, 1-day, 1/2 day, refresher), the SFA USI (Suicide First Aid Understanding Suicide Intervention) 1-day, or more commonly now, bespoke courses which are usually 2-3 hours and aimed often at line manager populations, but not necessarily. These bespoke courses are highly practical workshops covering real conversations and only the key content.
Whilst this is "training" it is not approached or delivered with a training mindset, why, because there's no point in turning up and just giving content and exercises because people will often go away and forget, especially if they're not in the right place for it. We learn best through doing, through stories and sharing. We've all sat through our careers in such sessions and have remembered very little. Money and time not well spent, but there is a whole industry set up to deliver just this. The approach taken here is more focus group crossed with facilitation crossed with training. Which means asking the difficult questions like "this is great, but.." and asking for real comments about what needs to change; often it's not the big things.
Sessions can be quite emotional and we don't shy away from that. Much of mental health work comes with deep emotion and potentially historic trauma, it's not your average workplace activity or topic of conversation so can not and should not be treated in the same way. It takes great skill, understanding and awareness to create a safe space and then to take care of the group and its individuals as they explore their needs and experiences with each other. And then to leave safely and motivated.
There is a place for e-learning or online learning and that is often just for content. However mental health is about being human with each other and is therefore by definition relational between people. Getting people in a room together is more costly and time consuming but it works. It can also be uncomfortable, and change never happened by being comfortable. Sorry.
Another important thing is to actually provide ongoing support to these people, whether they've been made more aware or received a form of accredited "qualification". It's not like physical first aid where you might be applying a plaster or cold water to a scold, it is much deeper and people can dwell on what was said and what happened. Providing regular catch up sessions, meetings or access to support through a good EAP or equivalent is important. We do this to. Not the EAP, the more direct stuff.
Such a meaningless word. And I was a Firm based consultant for a while so I have a more direct understanding of how it can be done badly. In this work we tend to talk around a whole heap of things to help manage the confusion about workplace mental health, of which there is a great deal. Where to start and what do other people do are often the first questions asked. There is no clear roadmap and no-one has it right yet either, even if they say they do and have nice pictures. Just know what problem you're trying to solve and we will go from there. Tools are easy to provide at low cost, helping you to understand what you want to change and helping you to do it is the important bit.
"Therapeutic, Executive, Counselling.."
Other potentially awkward words. Coaches come in many different forms, backgrounds and training. All I can say is find one that works for you. It's a relationship built on mutual trust and mutual care. Coaching is coaching and therapy is therapy and counselling is counselling. Or so you'll be told or might believe. The reality is that the skills are often similar, the differentiation comes from what you agree to talk about and how you will focus on it. We typically look at you being ok in the now, albeit with a history and a context and what this might mean to you going forwards. In all regards though you need to be safe, supported and not judged. We can look at things through so many different lenses which have their histories in therapy and/or sports performance. Look up Transactional Analysis, Gestalt, Constellations, GROW, Lego Serious Play, to name a handful.
If you like psychometrics then we can do Hogan, which is really pretty good. It is predictive of the things people think are good about you, how you might react under pressure, and even explores your motivations and values. It is used by many major organisations and head hunters so that will tell you something, not sure what, but it will.
Naturally all this can be adapted to work with all groups and all businesses; however there are some we have worked more with and therefore the relationship starts with a shared context, although just because it's a known industry it doesn't mean it's a given that you're the same, a mistake so often made.
From a workplace mental health perspective industries and sectors worked with include Pharmaceutical, FMCG, Investment Banking, Consultancy, Insurance, Charity, Hospice and Healthcare, and Automotive. From a coaching perspective these are principally senior business leaders with European and/or global roles, through the organisation to team leaders and executive assistants. Industries and sectors include Insurance, PR, Police, Health & Fitness, Pharmaceutical, and Fashion Retail.