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Top banking bosses take part in meaningful conversations with Mind in Furness
Left - Barclays North West Managing Director of Community Banking with staff having a meaningful conversation with Mind in Furness Service Manager Melanie Gilmour

MANAGERS and staff from Barclays bank Barrow take part in Meaningful Conversations.

For the last 12 months Mind in Furness have been going into business to get staff talking about mental well-being to try and help erase the stigma that surrounds it.

North West regional directors for Barclays came to the Dalton Road bank, Barrow, to take part in the session lead by Mind in Furness's Service manager Melanie Gilmour and head of trustees Mike Cassells.

Melanie said: "Mental health problems at work are common. At least one in six workers is experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

"You might not be talking about it, because mental health is still a taboo subject. And many people feel scared and confused about confronting the issue at work. But there are small, simple steps you can take to look after yourself and make your workplace mentally healthier."

"We have been going into businesses in Barrow for the last 12-months holding Meaningful Conversations sessions by talking to managers and staff about mental health and getting them to talk about mental well-being. "It's incredibly important that managers and staff recognise and help colleagues going through a tough time and make it easier for everyone to talk openly about mental well-being."

Kay Eccles. Community Banking Director for Cumbria nd Lancashire attended the session with David Steer, Managing Director for North West Community Banking Barclays. She said: "Making sure our staff are happy and healthy is important to us so we welcome sessions like this to get staff and managers talking openly about mental health.

"If someone had a broken leg you would be texting asking how they were or sending a 'get well' card but that doesn't happen when it comes to mental health but it is vitally important that that should happen.

"Colleagues well-being is a number one priority for us, "Having happy, healthy staff makes them more productive and that means they look after our customers."

Ideas for looking after your mental health at work and achieving a good work-life balance.

Reclaim your lunch break Why not make the most of that precious hour – or half hour – by trying some of these suggestions... Organise a picnic Take advantage of the summer sun and make the most of clean air and good food with your colleagues.

Hold a group activity If there’s a green space near your workplace why not organise a game of rounders or football, hold a guerrilla gardening session, or a group walk? Take time to enjoy the outdoors and get re-energised for an afternoon of productive work.

Take up a challenge Local sponsored walks or marathons are a great way to keep active. Sign with your colleagues and train together during lunch breaks. Participating as part of a team can give a communal sense of achievement when you complete the challenge.

Whistle while you work If you’re feeling stressed, listening to a calming song can take your mind off work for a few minutes and help you unwind and refocus. Research has found slow, quiet music can encourage relaxation and reduce anxiety.

When you’re working hard to complete a task, music can also help eliminate distractions around you. By blocking out the noise of your fellow workers, machinery or bleeping phones you can focus easier on the task at hand. Listen to your favourite song as a simple treat to yourself. Rewarding yourself is a great way for your general wellbeing, giving you some added motivation so you can better tackle a big workload.

Getting the work-life balance right Are you often the last to leave work? We know you’ll have times when you need to work overtime to meet deadlines, but try to make this the exception not the norm. Long hours means you may be working harder, but not better – they’ll quickly take their toll on your concentration, productiveness and health.

Create clear boundaries between work and home Try not to let work spill over into your personal life. If you need to bring work home, designate a separate area for work and stick to it, you’ll find it much easier to then close the door on work. Start a To Do list At the end of each day, go over your list and write up one for the next day, when your thoughts are down on paper, you’ll find it easier to not think about work.

Use the time on your commute home to wind down from work Read a book or listen to your music to set aside some time to yourself. Maybe try cycling part of your journey or getting off a stop early to take a shortcut through a park or quiet streets. These little actions can really help you to switch off. Ask for help If you feel your workload is spiralling out of control, take opportunity to discuss it with your manager or supervisor. If you can't resolve the problem of unrealistic goals, organisation problems or deadlines in this way, talk to your personnel department, trade union representative or other relevant members of staff.

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