Mental Health Awareness Week
This week (15th – 21st May) marks the Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 across the UK. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is anxiety. From www.mentalhealth.org.uk:
“Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem.
Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including exam pressures, relationships, starting a new job (or losing one) or other big life events. We can also get anxious when it comes to things to do with money and not being able to meet our basic needs, like heating our home or buying food. But anxiety can be made easier to manage.
Focusing on anxiety for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people’s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem. At the same time, we will keep up the pressure to demand change – making sure that improving mental health is a key priority for the government and society as a whole.”
Hear from Mental Health Champions & Technicians
Within higher education institutions, there are many and varied initiatives to improve and maintain mental health and wellbeing for both students and staff. Many colleagues undertake additional roles such as ‘Mental Health Champions‘ within their universities to help the cause at their individual institutions.
Back in March 2023, we were joined by Kerry Truman, Clare Templey and Lisa Hollands at our TechMeet Event, all three of which have a keen interest in mental health advocacy at their respective universities. The TechMeet event theme was The Secret Lives of Technicians, and conversations around mental health advocacy naturally arose.
When discussing her role as Mental Health Champion, Clare said these initiatives can be replicated within technicians’ respective universities: “If you can, take some time in your lunch break to walk around your campus and see what there is to find. Find out whether your institution has a hedgehog friendly group, or sustainability group, or if they don’t have what you’re looking for…start the group! Utilise your time off from work to pursue what you enjoy, like I do with my artwork. It will do your mental health good!”
Kerry also shared his own mental health journey during the networking event, adding: “I am always happy to share my own wellbeing journey, my daily adventures as a technician within HE and am more than happy to support anyone who feels what I have to offer is something they would benefit from learning more about.
The TechsConnect weekly community is a good starting point to drop by and engage with fellow technicians from across the country. We support, share, discuss and encourage all aspects of what it is to be a technician; good or not so good.”
Lisa, who also takes on a mental health champion role at The University of Sheffield, shared her love of crafts and how she uses these hobbies to support her own mental wellbeing: “I find making things really therapeutic and it helps my mental health immensely; I have regular bouts of anxiety and depression and find that keeping myself busy doing something creative can help a lot by giving me something to concentrate on rather than whatever is affecting me at the time. I also love colour and find that energising.”
Courses to support mental health in the workplace
The NTDC training arm, HEaTED, offer courses designed specifically to support technicians’ continued professional development. Many HEaTED courses are around ‘soft skills’, although we believe these skills are more important than that title suggests. Developing skills and capabilities around having difficult conversations, emotional intelligence and communication skills, is paramount to both team and individual wellbeing.
Find out more about HEaTED courses below: