At the end of last year, Kohler Mira appointed 15 Mental Health First Aiders to support our associates, raise awareness of mental health and promote that it’s OK to talk. We caught up with one of our first aiders, Operations Manufacturing Manager Stuart Parker who has been at Kohler Mira for 29 years, to find out a bit more about him and why he chose to get involved.
Why did you apply to become a Mental Health First Aider?
I’ve managed many people over the years, and tried to help them through various problems, from financial, health and personal issues. By attending the training and becoming a Mental Health First Aider, I felt I would be in a better position to support colleagues and for them to feel more comfortable to talk to someone about concerns.
Why do you feel passionate about mental health?
Both inside and outside of work I’ve always wanted to help people, and I feel happier when I can help someone because no one should feel alone with their problems. Mental health is still such a taboo subject, and I want people to feel more comfortable to seek support for their mental health.
Why is it important to support mental health in the workplace?
By promoting mental health in the business people will feel more supported to be open and that they have someone they can talk to. An associate may not have someone they can talk to at home, and this can affect not only their work but their whole life. If we support mental health at Kohler Mira, not only are we supporting someone at a difficult time in their life, we are supporting the right culture for the business so our associates are engaged.
What do you want to achieve by being a Mental Health First Aider?
In the past I have been supported by a Manager, and I know the huge impact this can have on mental health. I want to support colleagues by listening to them, so they have someone to talk to, and to signpost them to further help if needed. No one should be alone, and as a team we want to break down the mental health stigma so no one has to feel that way.
Why should people use the Mental Health First Aider service?
By talking to us, we can support people and prevent any mental health concerns from getting worse. There’s a saying ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’, and we’re a non-judgemental confidential service that’s here to help, whether it’s one conversation or more, or help with professional help.
And finally, what do you do to ease stress and relax?
I find it hard to switch off, however I’m a sports fan, so I can try to relax watching football, or playing golf (although if a game doesn’t go well that’s not always relaxing!). I also find exercise improves my mental health, so I make sure I go to the gym a few times a week.