meet our mental health first aiders: paul and dawn

posted on March 2021 by gap personnel group

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Say hello to two of our new Mental Health First Aiders and take a look at how they're tackling the mental challenges of lockdown.

 

 

Paul Lavelle - Head of Onsite Operations North West

 
 

Who are you outside of work?

I’m a husband, father, and a grandfather. Anything relating to sport is my release, I really enjoy all sporting events! The 1st lockdown was great (Liverpool Champions) but the 2nd and 3rd lockdowns have been difficult to take.  

 

Why did you want to become a Mental Health First Aider?

My reasons behind wanting to become a MHFA is to understand my own personal mental health and if that could be achieved, I could then offer any support to my family, friends, and work colleagues. 

 

What has your experience of lockdown been like, how have you found it?

Nothing has really changed for me in all three lockdowns, if anything my workload has gone through the roof, but I’ve loved being able to support our clients and colleagues and help them all through these difficult times.

 

When you haven’t struggled during lockdown what do you think the reason has been for that?

Routine and the support of my family - especially my wife. She is always on hand to offer her ear and provide advice and support when needed and most importantly knowing when the right time is to bring me a beer!

 

Do you have any tips or hints you have implemented either personally or within the team to support wellbeing?

Two things: make time for yourself at least once a day, if possible, switch off your phone and computers. If you are struggling during lockdown don’t be afraid to speak to family, friends, or a work colleague as you will feel better when you share.

 

 

Dawn Walker - Operations Director - gap healthcare

 
 

Who are you, what do you do within gap?

I’m Dawn Walker, Operations Director for gap healthcare! I’ve been with Quattro / gap for 5 years but have been in the recruitment industry for over 25 years… (I started young!)

 

Who are you outside of work?

Outside of work (and COVID-19 restrictions) I live life to the full! I have one grandson and another on the way, so family time is important! I also LOVE our Harley Davidson – we do road trips and bike rallies as much as possible and I love being by the water – sunshine, sea and surf is my calming influence.

 

Why did you want to become a Mental Health First Aider?

I don’t think mental health is discussed enough, people like to be seen as “strong and able to cope” but the truth is so many people struggle and lockdown restrictions have really magnified this. I want people to know there is someone they can talk to if they are struggling and I like to help people.

 

What has your experience of lockdown been like, how have you found it?

Lockdown three is the hardest for me – I’ve had enough of restrictions and the difficult situations seem much harder when you don’t have your usual “reset” at the weekend or support structure around you. Not being able to physically be there for others when they need help is so tough.

 

What have you done to support your wellbeing?

I make sure I get out of the house every morning and evening to go for a walk (with my very big dog!) and try and maintain a balance between “working time” and “home / family time”. I don’t bottle things up – I speak out if I’m having a tough day and if all else fails, I play loud music and dance around the kitchen!

 

When you haven’t struggled during lockdown, what do you think the reason has been for that?

I didn’t struggle in the beginning; it just feels like it’s been so long now. Keeping a routine and getting outdoors definitely helps!

 

Do you have any tips or hints you have implemented either personally or within the team to support wellbeing?

I have WhatsApp groups set up with my friends so we all “keep talking”, do much more “facetime” rather than phone calls with my family.  I have more “teams / Zoom” calls with work colleagues – anything that keeps me seeing people visually helps! I also try not to be too hard on myself – its ok not to be ok sometimes and it’s good to speak up if you are having an off day.