How we support colleagues at TSG – for world mental health day (and every other day)

As we head towards world mental health day on 10th October our People and Performance Director Emily Perry talks about how we support our colleagues in this area at The Shore Group.

Mental health is such a huge, complex subject with varying degrees of severity – from the mild to the very serious.  Something that in many cases I feel totally out of my depth in speaking about.  However, having experienced periods of poor mental health myself, and seeing close family members suffer with severe mental health episodes it’s something I feel passionately about. 

However, as an employer, it can be hard to know where to start. 

When I started in my role as HRD at The Shore Group, a key priority for me was ensuring we had some practical support mechanisms in place for our team in relation to mental health, as well as looking at how the wider culture of the business could support this.

I put in place a health cash plan which provides employees with free counselling, an employee telephone support line, and supported individuals by funding private counselling sessions where this was more appropriate.  We also have mental health first aiders, and partner with the charity Mates in Mind who specifically support the construction industry.

Whilst this is all great stuff, I fundamentally believe that if we want to truly support our employees with their mental health, we have to create cultures where people feel safe.  There is zero point in having great mental health initiatives, support lines and mental health first aiders if there is a toxic culture where people are scared.  People cannot perform if they are scared, and neither can they open up about their struggles if they are in a permanent state of fear. So we are working hard to create an environment where this is never the case.

In my role at TSG, I spend a huge amount of time in one to ones with our people.  This can range from informal catch ups, structured performance coaching or deeper emotional work.  I’ve recently started training in psychotherapy in the hope that I can constantly expand my tool kit in what support we can offer our team.

As always, there is work to do and we are far from perfect – but in the two years I have been in my role I believe we have made huge progress in this area.