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TeamTFN Supports Mental Health Awareness Week

Wednesday 20th May 2020

For many of us, work is a major part of our lives. It is where we spend much of our time, it takes up a lot of our thoughts, and is often where we make our friends.

So, it’s not surprising that it can affect our mental health if something’s not quite right. Looking after ourselves has never been more important than right now – the ‘new normal’ has changed the way we live and the way we work, and for many of us it’s, no longer business as usual, but instead business unusual.

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is kindness and looking out for each other – which is timely and appropriate given the varied challenges we’re all faced with now.

What the experts say

The Mental Health Foundation conducted a survey into kindness, which found almost two-thirds of us say that when people are kind to us, it has a positive impact on our mental health.

The results also showed almost two-thirds of us find being kind to others has a positive impact on our mental health, and almost three-quarters of us say it is important we learn from the Coronavirus pandemic to be more kind as a society.


TeamTfN spreading Kindness

Here at Transport for the North we’re doing all sorts of things to support the mental wellbeing of our colleagues – the people we call TeamTfN.

Many of them were in place before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but some are new to support our people in our new way of working (TfN has been in full remote working since 17 March – 10 weeks now!)

Most notably, we have our very own Mental Health First Aiders – four volunteers who are trained to support colleagues by listening and signposting to resources or further help. Now more than ever, listening to others talk about how they’re feeling is perhaps one of the biggest acts of kindness we can show.

We also have a dedicated Your Wellbeing Centre on our intranet, offering a range of resources to help everyone at TfN keep a healthy body and mind. These include links to online guides or information banks from the likes of Mind and the Mental Health Foundation, craft and food ideas, exercise videos, and things to read. Back when we were still working in our offices, we began a series of lunchtime learning and wellbeing sessions like yoga, which we’ve now moved online.

In support of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re running a mini challenge where colleagues are asked to #SpreadKindness among TeamTfN. This is a really simple but hugely effective initiative – we’ve asked people to drop a colleague a line to share some words of positivity or simply say “hello”, then they can pass the kindness on to someone else. We’ll be sharing some of these messages on our social media channels to keep an eye out for the TeamTfN #SpreadKindness posts.

At its heart, kindness is about a willingness – a willingness to support, listen, learn and be there for others. And these things are at the heart of how we work because they’re embedded in the TfN values.

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, TeamTfN continues to do the right thing by spreading kindness towards each other because we know by asking the simple question such as “how are you feeling today?”, we not only open the conversations on mental health, but also begin to make a difference in someone’s life.

We believe that for us to succeed in our jobs, we must be kind to ourselves and our colleagues. Showing each other that we care is the simple act of kindness that can truly make a big difference – we’re stronger together even when apart.