By Hannah Kerfoot and Swetha Babu

After wearing yellow and green to recognise World Mental Health Day back on the 10th of October 2023, Pharmora had a meeting about how we could improve our response and support of mental health in the office. After some discussion, the idea was raised to have some designated mental health officers that staff members could go to if they need any help or support. In November 2023, we sent two of our workers to St John Ambulance in Stockport to take the Mental Health First Aider course there.  

This was a very worthwhile course that educated not only about different types of mental health conditions and the differences between mental health crisis vs mental health episodes, but also how people could lend a sympathetic, listening ear. Sometimes all a person needs is someone to hear them out, be understanding, and be patient.  

This can be especially true in the workplace, where sometimes people don’t feel comfortable voicing their true feelings, where there can be a lot of stress and there is sometimes pressure to remain upbeat. While we do already have a friendly and kind atmosphere in the Pharmora office amongst coworkers and colleagues, it is always beneficial to be prepared and also to foster an understanding and open dialogue about mental health so no one need feel ashamed. One statistic of interest in the workplace is that 50% of employees felt “too embarrassed” to tell their employers of their mental health conditions.  

Therefore, it was gratifying that the candidates sent on the course both passed with flying colours and we now have two new Mental Health First Aiders approved by the St John Ambulance course.  

But these Mental Health First Aiders duties are not finished with just getting a certificate, the course has taught them a lot about the benefits of being open with mental health discussions and has spurred them on to introduce some mental health education materials linked around the Mental Health Awareness days and weeks across the year, as well as getting the whole office involved in activities whenever they can.  

This blog will be the first in a series of Mental Health blogs here on the Pharmora website, informing everyone what we are doing at Pharmora, as well as including some educational information.