Becoming a Mental Wellness Champion13th May 2021
In current society, we’re tackling stigmas and breaking down barriers more than ever before. Equality and diversity needs to be at the very forefront of all organisations, ensuring that people with mental and physical disabilities are included and supported. That they not only ‘survive’, but thrive also!
This is an initiative that is put into practice by Mental Wellness Champions, who look to further the confidence and inclusion of those with known mental health conditions. But what does it take to become a Mental Wellness Champion?
At the Unsung Hero Awards, we have a specific awards category for our Mental Wellness Champions, which is inspired by the NHS Time to Change campaign. A Mental Wellness Champion is an individual who actively works to enhance the confidence and the employability of a person with a mental health issue, who wishes to work in the NHS in a Non-Medical or Non-Clinical role. A Mental Wellness Champion also actively works to enhance the mental wellness, focus, resilience, and confidence of the staff at their place of work.
Project Search Team winning in 2020
We’ve been lucky enough to receive some outstanding nominations in this area in the resent past, including 2020 winners Project SEARCH Team from the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. They have achieved fantastic results in transforming the lives of dozens of young adults in helping them find employment after school, or college, providing them with opportunities to demonstrate their skillset. This also encouraged employers to appreciate individual talents rather than focusing on ‘labels’.
This is something that is supported by Aaron Oxford, who is a Learning Disability and Autism Network Manager at NHS England. His work is part of the NHS England Disability Initiative, which drives disability improvement standards (mental and physical) for Trusts across the UK.
We caught up with Aaron to find out more about his role:
“The job came about four years ago, when it was the NHS five year Forward View. The main priority is to get people with a disability to be employed at NHS England. In that way, they [the NHS] could focus on changing things like transforming care. We’re doing more work around personalisation and personalised care.”
Aaron Oxford, NHS England
Mental Wellness Champions not only go above and beyond for those individuals within their organisations who have mental health conditions; but in doing so, they also raise the visibility of the needs of people they work with. It’s about creating tangible, realistic change and bringing equal opportunities within the NHS and beyond.
We very much look forward to hearing more inspirational stories from our future Mental Wellness Champions via the 2021 online awards.
If you wish to nominate someone in the field of Mental Wellness, you can do so here (deadline July 9th): https://www.unsungheroawards.com/nominate/