Blog: Mental Health First Aiders

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Posted 09 October 2020

Jill Slingo, a Regional Coordinator for Retirement Housing, is also a Mental Health First Aider for staff at Housing 21. We hear what this means for her, in honour of World Mental Health Day.

Hi, my name is Jill and I am proud to be part of the Housing 21 Mental Health First Aid team.

Now first and foremost, please don’t be alarmed by the title Mental Health First Aider, I am a colleague, a good listener, somebody who has life experiences and who has taken some extra training to be able to offer a friendly face, a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear to anyone who might need them at any time in their lives. The team offer guidance, support and above all a non-judgemental approach to life and all it throws at us.

During the past year, I have helped people find their way with many different circumstances, all of which they had not planned for. We have talked about money worries, relationship concerns, pressures of work, parenting skills, weight gain/weight loss, drinking habits, personal illness, everything in between and of course the global pandemic! These are conversations, not psychiatric assessments. I am here to listen, not make any judgement or assess anybody. I can give support, guidance and a way for colleagues to get things off their chest and allow themselves a little bit of breathing space.

I love being part of the MHFA Team, I am happy to speak to each and every person who contacts me. We are a team that covers all departments, and staff can speak with someone in their area or somebody further up/down the country if they prefer. Speaking to myself or any others within the team is confidential, so staff are always able to contact any of us by email, telephone, it’s good to talk.

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