byrne∙dean has long been known for our highly engaging, thought provoking and culture changing workplace training. We deal with the difficult stuff that happens when you employ people: performance issues, harassment/bullying, exclusion, bias, discrimination, low engagement, morale and accountability.

Over the past couple of years we have also been working with a range of clients to deliver training around mental health in the workplace. We deliver the highly regarded Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) two day training. Although a substantial investment of time, invariably participants are left wondering where the time went, and wanting more. It is a unique opportunity to spend quality time learning about, and reflecting upon, a subject that is attracting growing attention but which remains so little understood. You are more likely to come across someone with suicidal thoughts than someone experiencing a heart attack, and yet first aid training in the workplace is still overwhelmingly focussed on the physical. I am always struck by the level and quality of sharing and understanding that develops within groups over the two days.

We also deliver our own training material, normally designed in partnership with the client to reflect their issues and concerns, as well as the level of existing understanding and time pressures of the attending groups. This ranges from short (one to two hour) sessions for all staff to longer manager sessions with reflection on how to engage in discussions with team members about how they are. The training continues to receive fantastic feedback.

Shortly we will also begin delivering training developed and licensed by Maudsley Learning at Work, which again can be tailored to the needs and resources of individual clients, while at the same time having the authority of the Maudsley’s internationally renowned expertise in the area of mental health.

We also work with clients on a consultancy basis to help them think about their own strategy for mental health and wellbeing, drawing on a large and growing network of partners in the field to supplement our own expertise.

2016 was a year of growing focus on mental health. Sports stars and celebrities spoke out more freely than ever about the problems they (had) faced. The Royal Family gave their support. In the business world we were proud to be part of the launch of the Lord Mayor of London’s This is me in the City campaign to promote personal story telling as a way to break down stigma. All of this will carry on and grow in 2017.

On a personal level, Christmas provided opportunities for me to reflect on my own experiences and understanding. I am the next of kin to an elderly relative who experiences psychotic depression alongside his Parkinson’s. His thoughts and conversation are often overshadowed by thought disorders and delusions of a psychotic nature. My ability to engage with him in these thoughts began with the MHFA training.

Christmas and new year are, for many of us, very challenging times. We have the media and social pressure to relax, unwind and have a good time ourselves while at the same time serving up a joyous and generous time for our children and/or parents and other dependents, as well as friends. Throw in a broken family or two, a sudden medical emergency or some broken pipes and the stress and anxiety can become overwhelming. Being aware of, and trying to manage the impact of, all of this on ourselves and those around us is critical, in our personal lives just as with the equivalent demands in our professional lives, to which most of us our now returning.

All the best for 2017, and if you want to talk to us about our work in this, or in any other, area, please do get in touch. We are always delighted to talk!