Raising awareness of support on offer
15 May 2023
The spotlight on mental health and learning at work is brighter than ever at Ingeus. This week (15-21 May) we’re joining the nation in raising awareness for Mental Health Awareness Week and Learning at Work Week – two issues integral to our values.
The week is an opportunity for all Ingeus employees to reflect on their own, their colleagues’ and their customers’ mental health, as well as the learning and development opportunities available to them.
For Jamal Miah, a Local Integration Lead for the Restart Scheme, the week is particularly meaningful. Completing a mental health first aid course with Ingeus last year, he’s appreciating just how much value learning at work can bring.
Jamal, who experienced his own mental health problems six years ago, says, “I’ve always been an advocate of mental health support, but now it’s at the forefront of everything I do. One of the main barriers for Restart Scheme participants tends to be interacting with people. Thanks to my training, I have the confidence to speak to people and I know the signs to look out for.”
As a Local Integration Lead in the Birmingham centre, he’s part of a team responsible for supporting and signposting participants to local services to help them in their Restart Scheme journey. He works closely with local charities, faith groups and other organisations who can provide tailored support to individuals.
Mental health charity, Mind, chose the cost of living as their theme for this year’s awareness week – a problem impacting many Restart Scheme participants.
Jamal, 39, explains, “A lot of the people we see have issues with anxiety and self-doubt, but also financial worries too. Mental health and the cost of living go hand-in-hand. I see participants who are on the verge of homelessness because they can’t afford to pay their bills. We have a dedicated debt advisor in the office and her diary is always booked.”
Jamal, who has only worked for Ingeus for six months, is one of five mental health first aiders in our Birmingham team, with similar numbers in centres around the country, across all Ingeus divisions. Having worked in the retail sector for 15 years before joining Ingeus, Jamal is keen to highlight how significant support provided by your employer can be.
He says, “It’s amazing how much support we offer – internally and externally. Ingeus has very clear values and they’re embedded into everything we do. It’s refreshing to work for a company that has mental health at the forefront of its mind – there’s so much practical support on offer.
“We’re big on encouraging people to develop their skills too – there’s a lot of learning available for staff. I’m dyslexic so struggle to write emails and I’ve completed a course to help with that. My line manager is very supportive in my development.”
Jamal’s eagerness to use his mental health first aider course doesn’t end with his day job. He’s taking his new-found skills into the community and raising awareness about mental health at the same time.
“There is a lack of education regarding mental health,” he explains. “I do a lot of voluntary work in my local community, hosting drop-in sessions at my local mosque for anyone who needs some support. It’s still early days, but people are learning that I’m there to help if they need me.
“Ingeus is helping to break down barriers in people’s attitudes towards mental health. At a past employer I had to take annual leave when I was having my breakdown – that wouldn’t happen at Ingeus. Their core values are always there, central to everything they do.”
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