Linda Wheatley is our group compliance director and has transformed the BMG culture since being appointed to the role in 2015.

Since the start of the pandemic, Linda has played a key role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of all BMG employees. In this blog, Linda talks about the importance of her wellbeing work.

Laying the foundations

Mental health and wellbeing is a part of my role that I take very seriously. Our industry is fast-paced and sometimes it can be difficult for people to stop, take a breather and remember to look after themselves.

We have a mental health and wellbeing policy that we review and approve every year. We update our goals and responsibilities accordingly and post each new policy on staff noticeboards and handbooks.

However, I’m well aware that we need to be much more proactive to engage staff. The policy is a great foundation but it’s just a starting point for my work.

Meaningful engagement

Our management team recently completed a mental health awareness course. The course provided excellent guidance on providing mental health support, including:

  • Warning signs to look out for
  • Advice when to listen and when to ask questions
  • Advice on questions to ask and words to use

We’ve found that it’s very empowering to use phrasing such as ‘There’s no shame in talking’ and ‘It’s a brave thing to do’. Despite the growing importance on mental health, there can still be a reticence to open up and engage. My job is to ensure that anyone can feel comfortable and supported if they want to talk about their mental health and wellbeing.

I’ve certainly seen that my colleagues are starting to notice our policy and leaflets that we place around the workplace. These leaflets include advice and contact numbers for other support organisations outside of BMG.

Staying connected

When the pandemic hit, we set up a WhatsApp group so that everyone could keep in touch during the lockdown. That group is still active and has been a great way for people to keep in touch. This is especially useful for us when we have staff around the country and moving teams working remotely.

I’m going to be making use of any and all communication tools. I’m well aware that what works for one person may not for another, and I want to ensure that every member of staff has a way to connect with their colleagues.

Plans for 2022

I’m always on the lookout for ways to offer further support. I’ll soon be taking a mental health first aid course with my colleague Kathryn Bowers. This will be a great learning opportunity for us both and we can both be key contacts for anyone who needs support.

I’ll also be exploring team activities. These are always great for team bonding and strengthening relationships. At my Leeds branch, we attend an annual charity dinner. As well as a team activity, supporting a good cause also raises the morale. I’ll be helping all of our branches to organise activities.

I’m truly excited about developing a happy and healthy workplace for all!

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