We’ve been building up to Time to Talk Day by empowering our team of Healthy Living Ambassadors to spread the word about the initiatives we have in place to look after our colleagues’ health and wellbeing. The team have been working hard to raise awareness of Time to Talk Day and encouraging everyone to take time out of their busy day to ask themselves and each other – ‘Are you OK?’.
Looking after our colleagues’ mental and physical wellbeing is extremely important to us and something we believe is the key to our success. Across our UK sites we have over 70 Healthy Living Ambassadors who volunteer their time to help roll-out key health and wellness initiatives and help drive conversation to remove the stigma surrounding mental health.
In the run-up to Time to Talk Day, our Healthy Living Ambassadors were visited by a very special guest, Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes who shared her thoughts on mental health, her own inspiring story and tips for looking after yourself, loved ones and colleagues.
The year before she won her two gold medals Kelly broke down.
Plagued by injury after injury she felt like her body was betraying her. “I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw, then I started to cut myself. I couldn’t tell anybody or ask for help – not even my closest friends, as a professional sports person you have to be strong,” she said. “When I retired from sport I was asked to write my autobiography. I didn’t want to just write about running so I wrote my story and opened up about my struggles. Since then I’ve been openly talking about mental health and encouraging people to do the same.”
Listening and guiding
“Listening to Kelly share her story was so inspiring. Everyone could take something from her advice to always consider how to turn negatives into positives – you don’t need to be a professional athlete to take on that mind-set. I was bowled over by how honest and open Kelly was and hope that my colleagues recognised the importance of this when dealing with their own struggles,” explains Kim Swift, UK Health and Wellbeing Manager.
“One of the key initiatives we’ve put in place to help look after our colleagues mental wellbeing is Mental Health First Aiders,” Kim adds. “We have over 140 trained across the UK helping those needing a little extra support and if needed pointing them in the direction of the clinical support and counselling services we offer all of colleagues.
“Everyone is different in what they need and how they react. The first stage is all about having conversations, lots of problems can be solved by just being with people and sharing their energy,” adds Kelly.
“Mental Health First Aiders are a great first point of help. If someone opens up to you, just listen and guide them. I’m very open on social media about how I’m feeling and I get lots of people sharing their stories with me. It’s really important to remember that you’re not a trained therapist – there are lots of things out there to help, mediation apps, self-help book and mental health charities,” she continues.
This is just one of the many initiatives which helped us gain a Silver Award in the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index – to find out more about what’s life is like for our colleagues, visit the Life at PepsiCo page.