Leeds Mindful Employer


April 2021 Newsletter

Dear Network Members, 

Welcome to our April newsletter!

Firstly, apologies for the lull in newsletters over the past couple of months. Planning for our conference got in the way a little but now we are back!
Next, a huge thank you to everyone who got involved in either speaking, delivering a workshop or attending our conference: Wellbeing @ Work 2021: COVID-19 and beyond, 15th-19th March.

As we're sure those of you who attended will agree, it was a wonderful week of learning, exploring challenges, looking ahead and celebrating the amazing efforts that you have all made over the past year to support staff mental health and wellbeing. It was fantastic to feature so many network members in the programme - thank you for sharing your experiences and expertise. Don't worry if you missed it - you will find a link to recordings from the week below. 

Following the conference we are over the moon to be welcoming over 300 new members to the Network!! This shows a phenomenal level of interest in our very important subject of wellbeing at work. There are too many of you to mention individually, but thank you for joining and we look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at our events in the coming months.   

This month's contents include:
  • Post-conference round-up and links to recordings
  • Your thoughts on our events for the year ahead
  • #TogetherLeeds campaign
  • #StressAwarenessMonth - April
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Wellbeing Hub for health and care workers
  • Updated Mindwell at Work resources 
  • Mind Blue Light programme relaunch
  • Focus on anxiety and panic attacks 
  • Get ready for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021:10th-16th May
  • Reminder of resources and support for local businesses
Don't forget that you can access all the information and resources featured in previous editions of the newsletter here.
Finally, we know that as pandemic restrictions are gradually eased, this will bring a mix of emotions and feelings for all of us. Some people will feel excited while others may feel more anxious. Periods of transition can be a trigger for poor mental health. Please see our links to resources on anxiety below. Let's all continue to be understanding: kind to ourselves,
kind to each other. 

With best wishes,

Mindful Employer Leeds

Not yet a member of Leeds Mindful Employer Network? Join for free here
Post-conference round-up

Reflections from Laura McCullagh, Leeds Mindful Employer Network Coordinator
Read Laura's personal reflections on the conference here. 
Michelle Scally Clarke's  poetry
We were fortunate to be able to work with Space 2 to commission Michelle Scally Clarke as our poet in residence for the week. Michelle produced two beautiful poems for us. One was the result of a group exercise reflecting on what we have lost and found during the pandemic. The other captures Michelle's reflections from the conference, depicting the themes and discussions she observed throughout the week. (You can listen to Michelle performing this poem during the second half of the Day 5 recording). Read Michelle's poems here

Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback on the event. It has been lovely to read your comments - not just the positive ones, but also your ideas and suggestions for how we could improve things in the future. Here are a snapshot of some of the things you liked about the week:

“It was clear how much effort and work had been invested in pulling together a varied, inclusive and participative programme that tried to touch a number of different points of interest.  There was something for everyone”.

“Everyone involved was really friendly, seminars were so informative and the panels were really well chosen and gave great information” 

“It was an inspiring event, thoughtfully put together and professionally executed”.

“I came out of the training feeling confident knowing exactly what I could do next and how. Possibly some of the best training I've ever attended and it was entirely free!”

Catch up on what you missed
Recordings from each morning of the conference are available to watch for free on the conference website. We will transferring these to our new YouTube channel in the coming weeks, snipping the recordings so that you can easily skip to the section you want.

A reminder of the daily themes: 

Day 1: Setting the scene: COVID-19, work and wellbeing
Day 2: Management, Leadership and Communication: Keeping people well and with you through challenging times
Day 3: Creating a healthy culture for the post-COVID workforce
Day 4: Support and resilience at every level
Day 5: Local services and reflections, priorities and next steps

Please revisit the conference schedule for more detail on what was covered each day and to read about all of our speakers. 

Note: We will do our best to make recordings of the afternoon workshops available. They require some editing to respect people's confidentiality so please bear with us. 

Join our LinkedIn group
Several people contacted us after the conference to ask about ways to keep connected and keep the conversation going. We have created a LinkedIn group which you can join here

Sign the Mindful Employer Charter
We know that the conference has prompted many of you to think about signing the Mindful Employer Charter for employers who are positive about mental health. You can read more about signing the Charter here. 

Finally, for those of you who were there, you will have seen a beautifully uplifting film made by Michelle Scally Clarke for Forum Central that we played at the start of the final morning of the conference. We've included it below to brighten up your week :)
Forum Central's Leeds Moving Together film by Michelle Scally Clarke

Our future events - please share your thoughts

Please share your ideas for our events over the next 12 months. It is important that agendas are relevant to your needs and reflect the themes that you want to explore. If you would like to showcase your own work or lead a workshop for us please let us know. 
Please click here to complete our events survey
Join the #TogetherLeeds campaign 
#TogetherLeeds is a citywide campaign aimed at bringing the city, it’s people, businesses, employees and visitors together to collectively work together for the health, wellbeing and benefit of everyone in the city.

It is hoped that we will all start to use the campaign hashtag #TogetherLeeds and logo to show support and amplify the message.

 April is Stress Awareness Month! How are you marking it in your teams and workplaces? 

The stress bucket is a great visual tool that we can all use to remind ourselves to take action to reduce our experience of stress and build our resilience.

Imagine there is a bucket that you carry around with you which slowly fills up when you experience different types of stress. A lot of the time we can carry the bucket but sometimes it’s going to fill with too many stressors and overflow. This is when we are more likely to experience poor mental health. 

What we need to do is lighten the load by opening up some holes in our bucket - these are our coping strategies that help us to manage life’s stressors. 

Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service provide some great courses and groups to help with the management of stress. They can also come into your workplace and deliver sessions for free. Email:   

You can also find a wealth of information, tools and resources on the Mindwell website.  

New Health and Wellbeing Hub for all health and care workers
across West Yorkshire and Harrogate

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership have launched a brand new support service for anyone working in health or care across the region.

Support is completely confidential and open every day 8am-8pm. Call freephone  0808 1963833

Launching the new service, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership say: 

“We recognise that COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of people’s lives. Changes to your routine and working environment, loss of colleagues, friends and family members and prolonged periods of stress may have put you under extraordinary strain.
If you work in a health and care environment, and are experiencing feelings that are difficult to cope with, our experienced mental health workers are here to support you now and find the extra help that is right for you.
The service is completely confidential, wherever you work, and offers advice and support that can help with a range of issues. You can get in touch phoning the helpline or using the chat function.

For full details of what the hub can offer, please access using the following link: 
Click here for more information about the Health and Wellbeing Hub
Updated MindWell at Work resources

MindWell at Work is a fantastic guide for anyone interested in mental health at work or concerned about themselves or a colleague. It has recently been updated to reflect specific concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

See the presentation provided by Zoe from MindWell at our conference below: 
Introduction to MindWell mental health resource
Visit MindWell at Work here
Mind Blue Light programme relaunched

Mind have recently relaunched their Blue Light programme offering mental health support to emergency servicesduring the pandemic. 

The programme aims to make sure that emergency responders have access to high quality mental health resources and training – and to help create an atmosphere in which it’s OK to focus on your wellbeing.
Mind Blue Light programme
Read more about the Mind Blue Light programme here
Focus on anxiety

As COVID-19 restrictions start to ease, some people will feel anxious about the upcoming changes. It is important to remember that we have all had different experiences of the pandemic and it has affected everyone in different ways.

With a return to 'normality' feeling closer, we may want to ask our colleagues how they feel about it and be there to listen to any concerns they have. This guide from MindWell at Work may help: 

MindWell at Work - worried about a team member? 

Most people feel anxious at times, especially when coping with stressful events or changes. However if anxiety is impacting on their ability to live life as fully as they'd like to, it may be becoming a mental health problem. 

If people experienced anxiety before the coronavirus pandemic, their feelings may have got worse or they may be experiencing anxiety for the first time.

MindWell have some great downloadable resources to help people to manage the anxiety they may be experiencing:

Anxiety and panic self-help resources

Also see links to information from Mind about anxiety below:

Guide to anxiety and panic attacks

Managing feelings about lockdown easing 

Experiences of mental health problems during coronavirus
Mind - talking about mental health - experiences of anxiety
Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

This year's theme from the Mental Health Foundation is nature. 
You may also wish to get involved in Mind's campaign to Fight for Mental Health.

Resources from both Mental Health Foundation and Mind will be available on their websites soon. 

How will you be celebrating? Please let us know what creative ideas you have to raise awareness of mental health in your workplace. 
Reminder of resources and support for local businesses
Access our list of covid-19 and mental health resources here
Thank you for reading this bulletin, we hope it has been helpful. Please stay in touch!

 Mindful Employer Leeds 
You can access past editions of the newsletter here

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