In light of the challenging past few months, our Jersey office were delighted to welcome a man well versed in overcoming adversity to speak about the importance of mental well-being and motivation, European, world and Paralympic para-triathlete champion, Andy Lewis MBE.
Every year in England, one in four people will experience a mental health problem and the pandemic has exacerbated this issue. Whether it be living alone and self-isolating for several months, not being able to see family and friends or one of the other implications of lockdown, many of us have found certain aspects difficult to adapt to and our mental health has likely suffered in some way. That's why we thought it would be beneficial for our staff to hear from someone who has suffered severe mental health problems and come through the other side, Andy Lewis MBE.
Andy's story is one that traverses both ends of the emotional spectrum. An amputee in his early 20s, he struggled with depression and phantom pain to the point where he tried to take his own life. Following his attempted suicide, Andy realised he had the choice of giving up or fighting on, and determined to make the most of his life, he began to thrive - particularly after being told he 'couldn't' do something.
He began competing as a para-triathlete, enduring gruelling training schedules to eventually climb the summit of the sport, winning gold in the Paralympics in Rio in 2016. The key to his success? Surrounding himself with a team of people who support each other and listen when his own motivation isn't sustainable.
Andy emphasises that working as a team and opening up to others allows us all to achieve more. He reiterated that there will always be something, be it skills or knowledge, that you will have that others will also draw inspiration from.
Our support network
No one should face a mental health problem alone. When you're living with a mental health problem, having access to the right information and support network is vital. At Ocorian, we recognise this and run a number of mental well-being initiatives.
We recently worked with Mind Jersey and other mental health experts on the island to facilitate lunch and learn sessions on valuable topics such as mindfulness and mental health awareness. Our Learning & Development and HR teams have also created a useful bank of resources including mental health and well-being guides and details on our benefits provisions which are available for employees to access 24/7. With the help of our Social Committee, we arrange enriching activities such as yoga for anyone that wishes to take part. Furthermore, we train some of our team members as Mental Health First Aiders and encourage our colleagues to avail of this should they wish to. The well-being of our staff is paramount and we continue to strive for ways to improve our offering.
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