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CIMSPA leads the way on mental health awareness among all staff


Posted on 14 Jan 20

The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) is leading the way on understanding and shedding the stigma around mental health by putting its entire workforce through awareness training.

Ten colleagues undertook the Active IQ Level 2 Award in Mental Health Awareness training in December before they and the rest of their colleagues completed an awareness training day on January 15.

CIMSPA is in the process of embedding mental health awareness into all professional standards and wanted to replicate what it asks for externally within its own organisation in respect of duty of care and personal development of colleagues. It also sought to ensure staff are not only aware of mental ill-health but also know how to talk and act around someone who needs help.

“Our team seeks to spearhead industry best practice and we put people first,” says Morwenna Crespin, People Development Manager at CIMSPA. “Employee wellbeing is of paramount importance and mental health is at the centre of that.  Our learners represented all levels and areas of the business as any of us could be affected and we need individuals who know how to help in all areas of the company,” she explains. Those who have been trained are now wellbeing ambassadors at CIMSPA and are actively engaging colleagues in mental health awareness initiatives, charity events and programmes to keep their awareness high.

CIMSPA CEO Tara Dillon took part in the company’s awareness day alongside her colleagues. “At CIMSPA we want to lead from the front in all areas of workforce training and development and this includes staff welfare and mental health. By working with Ad Lib Training we are making a commitment to support our team and give them the skills and awareness to recognise when someone may need support,” explains Tara. “The culture that we are creating at CIMSPA is one of respect, quality and teamwork, and we want to make sure that this extends not only to our work, but across all facets of our working lives. This is something that we are keen to promote to the entire sector and encourage organisations to undertake.”

The Active IQ Level 2 Award in Mental Health Awareness comprises two units: Mental Health Awareness and Mental Health First Aid. Its main purpose is to provide learners with an understanding and awareness of common mental health disorders and issues, help reduce stigma and discrimination and encourage people to talk about mental health. The second unit helps learners spot the signs of mental health issues in themselves as well as others and gives them the skills to offer mental health first aid to people.

“Identifying and managing mental health issues remains in the spotlight as individuals and organisations face friends, colleagues, peers and customers with mental ill-health,” says Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director of Active IQ. “Our qualification seeks to help people spot the signs, understand, empathise and feel confident in their ability to offer support. Increasingly we are seeing companies train people right across their organisation, just as CIMSPA has done, and this is proving highly effective. CIMSPA is setting an excellent example and we hope other companies will follow its lead.”

“Despite recent heightened awareness of mental health in the UK there remains a mountain of stigma and discrimination around employment,” says Robin Gargrave, director of Ad Lib Training who delivered the Award and awareness days to CIMSPA. “The Active IQ Award in Mental Health Awareness is very accessible and relevant both within and beyond the leisure sector,” he says. “I’m delighted to see CIMSPA taking a strong lead and showing how employers can stand up against stigma and discrimination against people with mental ill-health.

“People are talking more openly about mental health but that alone won’t change employment practices: we need positive action,” continues Robin. “The Ad-Lib Training qualification and awareness day workshops both provide a safe and confidential space for individuals to explore empathy, attitudes and signs and symptoms of mental ill health. It allows them time to reflect on their own mental health and wellbeing in order to be in a stronger position to help colleagues.

“The Ad-Lib Training Workshop day adds enormous value to learning the knowledge via the excellent Active IQ workbooks and e-learning. Human interaction is what it should be about,” continues Robin. “This Award gives people the knowledge, skills and resources to act effectively when faced with mental ill-health at work or socially and that is exactly what is needed right now.”