Those of you that have read any articles that I have written before will know that I am proactively and publicly in recovery from addiction and this plays a huge part in everything I do and that is why I am driven both personally and professionally to keep talking openly about mental health and recovery from addiction.
On February 7th we had Time to Talk Day, which encourages discussion about mental health. Employers are becoming increasingly aware that ignoring employee’s mental health is not only detrimental to the individual, but also detrimental to business. In the year 2017-18, the Health and Safety Executive estimated that 15.4 million working days were lost due to work related depression, stress or anxiety.
With the Mental Health Foundation estimating that 1 in 7 of us will experience mental health problems in the workplace, it has never been more relevant to start breaking down barriers and talking about these issues.
In the last year or so mental health awareness has received lots of media coverage. In fact, in 2019, Lib Dem former health minister Norman Lamb, and the Conservative Jonny Mercer suggested changing the law to underline that an employers’ first aid duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act cover mental as well as physical health.
High profile celebrities, such as the grime star Stormzy, are going public about their struggles with mental health. I’m also concerned because suicide is the number one killer of men under 45 in the UK, and there is a well-documented link between addiction and suicide.
My multi-talented friend Clare Kennedy is an entrepreneur, director & workshop facilitator at Kennedy St CiC, a Brighton based training & personal development company, and CEO of Kennedy St Productions Ltd. Clare is a very close friend of mine, whom I love dearly, and I genuinely believe that without her help Citrus Ornge would not be where it is today.
I mentioned in a previous article that Clare invited me to where she was running her own social enterprise business from (link to other article) and that was the catalyst for our social mission link
Recently, as part of herfocus at Kennedy St CIC, Clarehas been working on a new project.
After years of working in the corporate sector with high functional addicts, she has developed a much-needed workplace self-help solution called “My Mental Wealth” training, which offers a number of work place solutions, for example:
- Early intervention education
- Recovery & resilience training
- Supportive conversations
- Sign posting
Clare identified that more workplace social touch points, awareness and sign posting to recovery resources in the community could ameliorate these issues in the workplace.
The 1-day introduction to “My Mental Wealth” will be on offer to up-skill all staff members, who may at some point come into contact, personally or professionally with someone who may struggling with mental health problems. This includes substance misuse and addiction issues. The program will equip all participants with the basic knowledge of how to have a confidential, supportive conversation and know where and who to signpost somebody to should they need additional community-based self-help support.
Her idea going forward is to train up others in recovery to become accredited trainers that will go into the corporate sector as an outside body, to deliver early intervention self-help skills and enable those in recovery to gain a train the trainer coaching certification .
These “My mental wealth” training modules will be very much in keeping with the government’s legislation concerning mental health in the workplace
“My Mental Wealth “ module 1, is an introduction and early intervention, self-help tool that connects participants to the community of self-help fellowships, where real continuity in care can take place.
Clare has been working on a workplace solution for many years, based on her own experience. Her own journey of recovery started 23 years ago, first in family recovery as her husband was in a very high-profile acting career, playing Curly Watts in Coronation Street. To all the world everything was looking good, but behind closed doors he was dying, it was through this experience she first got involved with recovery in the workplace, helping Granada, his then employers, understand what they could and could not do to support her husband with his recovery process. Thank goodness she convinced them to support him with his recovery, this workplace support not only changed her, and her husband’s lives, but played a huge part in saving his life.
Then, 20 years ago, she surrendered to her own addiction to drink and drugs. Since being in recovery, Clare trained 19 years as an addiction therapist, firstly volunteering as a family peer supporter at the Priory, Cheshire, then going on to carry out her work placement there. After 5 years, Clare was head hunted by a private health care provider to offer home based community care and recovery coordination to individuals returning back from treatment centers abroad.
After that, the next step was naturally to go on to develop her own private practice as a recovery & resilience coach, helping the corporate sector understand what they need to do to educate their staff, attain and maintain recovery in the workplace.
One of Kennedy St’s mottos is “The greatest gift you can give to anyone is help them find their best self.” And at Kennedy St they believe everyone has a right to realise their full potential, to have the opportunity to live free of social exclusion because of serious ill-health, mental health, addiction, place of birth, poverty, education or gender.
Kennedy St CIC believe that training and personal development, recovery, resilience & mental health information, should be visible and delivered at a community & workplace level, to meet the diverse needs of the locals. Thus, making it accessible; reducing stigma, shame and guilt; giving individuals, families and young people the choice and opportunities to thrive not just survive.
For more info on the Forward Enterprise Fund visithttps://www.sibgroup.org.uk/forward-enterprise-fund