Mental Health Awareness Week – Supporting our Teams Wellness

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is all about taking time to kōrero, making time to chat, connect in with each other and creating space for conversations about mental health and wellbeing.

“Mā te whakarongo, ka mōhio, Mā te mōhio, ka mārama, Mā te mārama, ka matau, Mā te matau, ka ora.”  Through listening, comes knowledge, through knowledge, comes understanding, through understanding, comes wisdom, through wisdom, comes wellbeing.

As an organisation, ABI is committed to ensuring all of our team feel supported in their mental health and wellbeing, not just this week, but every week.  

The valuable mahi (work) we complete in TBI rehabilitation can sometimes be stressful, challenging, and complex.  This is made more difficult while navigating lockdowns, either as an essential worker on site, or trying to work from home doing telehealth with teams and clients.  Yet work can also provide a means to manage personal mental health, through providing opportunities to connect, creating purpose and offering routine.  

Our ABI kaupapa encourages our team members to feel secure and safe to be themselves at work.  We strongly encourage connection at team levels and across the wider organisation.  Working in healthcare, the team are skilled at noticing distress, anxiety, and isolation in their clients and whānau.  The ABI kaupapa encourages the team to equally look out for these concerns in themselves and their colleagues too.  

ABI has a Workplace Wellbeing Committee, with team members who are champions for wellbeing and resilience. With the support of the ABI Executive Leadership Team there are a number of wellbeing initiatives undertaken regularly. 

This month, ABI has been running a “Steptember” challenge, recognising the importance of exercise and team work in managing wellbeing.  We have 12 teams competing against each other to improve on their previous weeks steps.  There is some serious stepping going on despite COVID lockdown levels and a healthy amount of competition across the teams.   

Other wellbeing activities over lockdown have included a photo competition, an interactive workplace wellbeing session on zoom, a resilience zoom session by one of ABI’s Psychologists, Tuesday afternoon teas via zoom, Friday Fruit platters on site and Wednesday ABI Ted Talks. All of these activities encourage stronger and social connectedness at work which we know is vital for wellbeing and engagement.  Once alert levels permit, the Wellbeing Committee are looking forward to suggesting some more face to face activities.

This week, ABI teams are using the ideas and activities from the Mental Health Awareness Week website in their catch ups with one another either face to face or via zoom.  The ABI team are also encouraged to use the NZ developed Mentemia app, guided by kiwi legend Sir John Kirwan. The app  promotes daily strategies for ongoing wellbeing.