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“Encourage open and honest conversations”

For Mental Health Awareness Week Wilderness’ Tilly Morgan highlights the importance of communication

Tilly Morgan, Operations & People Director

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We encourage open and honest conversations regarding mental health at Wilderness and have built a support system for our team that allows them to choose either an internal (peer to peer Mental Health First Aiders) or external platform (Spill) for guidance. 

Confidence in communicating your challenges is a personal choice and not everyone will feel comfortable opening up to a stranger. That’s why we have 25% of our workforce formally trained as Mental Health First Aiders. Across all levels of seniority within the agency, our MHFA’s are fully equipped with the skill set to spot and support a colleague in need, with strategies to help recommend alternative solutions to struggles that we can each face.

Firstly, it was important to train at least 25% of our workforce to ensure we encourage a shared responsibility of supporting employee wellbeing. It was then a conscious choice to ensure this wasn’t just offered to managers or the senior team. Peer to peer support has proven to be some of the most effective at Wilderness, so to also have interns or junior staff qualified will allow further value to be added. 

Though we encourage a culture of open communication, employers also have to respect personal choice and are responsible for putting additional support systems in place

Tilly Morgan - Operations & People Director, Wilderness’

‘The group discussions were insightful and really allowed us to step out of our comfort zone in order to understand how to approach such topics. One thing I have learned during this pandemic is the importance of being able to listen and be of aid to colleagues and friends.’ Ayesha Fatima - Insights Strategist and Mental Health First Aider at Wilderness 

On the flip side, some of our employees would actively choose not to raise concerns regarding their wellbeing at work. Though we encourage a culture of open communication, employers also have to respect personal choice and are responsible for putting additional support systems in place. We have partnered with Spill who provide qualified counselling and advice for our team, 24/7. It can be accessed discreetly, at a time that suits you on a subject of your choice. 

Following the pandemic, we have seen an increase in uptake of this service by our team, largely as they try to navigate many personal changes they’ve encountered over the last 2 years. 

Here’s what our paid social media manager, Katie Nicols, had to say about the platform to the wider team; ‘My experience (with Spill) was very positive and I recommend it to every one of you. It’s a fantastic benefit and whether you simply have a question or want to try a one-off session, I urge you to book one in.’ 

Internal and external support, whether it be for personal or professional challenges, is a core pillar of employee engagement and wellbeing. Breaking down the taboo nature of talking about mental health at work needs to be initiated and led by employers, combined with valuable and effective platforms for communication/advice and completed with honest employee feedback. It’s a continuous and evolving journey that should adapt to the changing needs of your team and struggles they face.

Guest Author

Tilly Morgan, Operations & People Director

About

After making the decision to not attend university, I secured an operations internship straight out of college and have continued to pursue success in the field ever since. Having worked at Wilderness for the past 3 years I have developed a strong passion for creating a diverse and sustainable business through a number of initiatives. I strive for every member of our team to truly feel Wilderness is the best place to work through our culture of excellence and believe the operational function has a key role to play in this. Providing a greater number of entry level roles to underrepresented talent and developing that talent into senior positions at the agency largely supports this goal. By working with our partners at Ravensbourne University, The Opportunity Group and Brixton Finishing School we have been able to provide a number of new positions in 2021 alone. A shared passion with the team is to operate sustainably and be conscious consumers. Wilderness has a number of sustainable development goals that I take great pride in leading the team towards achieving and connecting them with like minded organisations to further educate our talent. For 2021 we have partnered with Village Water and have conducted numerous fundraising campaigns to support their mission to provide access to safe water and hygiene to remote communities in Zambia and Mozambique. After joining the board of directors in 2020, my aim is for Wilderness to be viewed by talent as an agency of great opportunity and structured support and respected by our industry peers for our contribution towards social and environmental causes.

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Mental Health