How to Build Emotional Wellbeing at Work?

Resilience and Mental Health with Leigh Carey

Explore the vital subject of emotional wellbeing at work, and a range of essential mental health topics, through our video interview with mental health specialist Leigh Carey.

Leigh is Executive Director of The Hummingbird Project, who provide training and support to the mental health sector.

During her ProfileTree Business Leaders interview Leigh discussed mental health subjects including resilience and workplace wellbeing.

She explained that her organisation “works with people to recover but also improve their resilience towards mental health” through skills including resilience.

Leigh then outlined her own path to such a rewarding and interesting role.

“My background is actually communications, that’s what my degree is in, but about ten years ago I started working with young people from socially deprived backgrounds.

“One of the big things that I saw that was a difficulty for them in reaching their goals in that there were lots of stressors and difficulties like family issues. So when I had the opportunity to go and work for a mental health organisation I took it.

“For several years I worked with people with mental health difficulties to help them back to work and to help their life circumstances.

“Then about three years ago I decided that I would try to do something myself and start my own business. I found that the way I did things was quite unique and worked well.

“I wanted it to be a social enterprise to keep things innovative and flexible and to help respond to need.”

How does the social enterprise structure differ from setting up as a charity ?

“What I saw working for big charities was that, because they are reliant on government funding or charitable giving, some of the goals and outcomes from that could make services quite diluted and not very person-centred because it had to be about a big flow of numbers with a strict flow of traffic.

“If we were going to do early intervention and prevention we needed to open up the idea of organisations being able to invest in the mental health of their staff without waiting for someone else to come along and pay for it.”

Leigh explained that mental health support paid for by charitable giving, as opposed to being funded directly by a company, “usually goes to the most vulnerable, as if should, so it shouldn’t subsidise people who have access to it in other ways”.

The Hummingbird Project has adopted a policy of leading by example in terms of how they treat welfare within their own organisation.

“I think one of the most important things when we started this was that we needed to practise what we preach.

“So, that means creating a culture and values around how we look after ourselves as staff members and give each other space to be productive, to take breaks, use flexible working and things like that.

“It’s trying to weigh up the ways you can be flexible without it affecting your business.

“We all need to look at ourselves and think ‘right, how are we going to create new innovative ways of being able to solve this’.

“My job is to get out there and say ‘there are other ways of doing this’, you don’t need to write people off or write yourself off. Part of my job is to get in there and make a few waves and get the people who make policy decisions to think about how to reshape things in a joined-up way.”

Discover more about emotional wellbeing at work, resilience and mental health by watching our full video interview.


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