It’s so easy to just put things off. To just block stuff out. It often feels easier to put on a façade. Pretend that everything is OK. You don’t want to trouble others and you’d rather not be judged if you ‘open up’.
Rebecca Metcalfe joined DAZN four years ago. She’s a Senior Linear Presentation Scheduler and is based in our Leeds office. She has been through a challenging few years. The pandemic took it’s toll on her and it was not until she confided in her manager that things began to improve.
I reached out to her and was taken aback by her story. Here’s what she had to say…
Tell us about your journey with mental health
I’m very open about my story. Last year I took some time off to work on my mental health because I wasn’t in a good place. I was so lucky that my manager at the time was really understanding and supportive of my situation. They suggested I should give our employee assistance programme a shot. Through this, I was able to invest in the private medical insurance that is offered to all employees and receive free therapy. It was a godsend.
I returned to work in the summer of 2021. This was a time where we were going in and out of lockdowns. When I came back, I was very honest and open with my colleagues about the time I had off work. Sadly, I realised that lots of other people were feeling the same way. Many were feeling stressed and anxious as a result of how our lives changed during the pandemic. Lots of people were scared to reach out to someone as they were worried that they would be seen as a ‘liability’ or it would be ‘embarrassing’.
I couldn’t believe the amount of people that were feeling this way. I wanted to do something and this is when Pep Talk happened.
What is Pep Talk?
Pep Talk is a mental health support group that I set up in July 2021 for anyone at DAZN. I didn’t want it to be a group where people sit in a room and share their feelings. I wanted it to be an action group. I wanted people from each department to talk to me about what change they want to see to make their experience at work as comfortable as possible. I got the group going and started these conversations. I was overwhelmed with the response I got. So many employees were feeling socially anxious because of the pandemic – scared to return back to the office and scared to socialise outside of work.
We worked closely with the People Team and our colleagues in Facilities to make the office a safe place where employees felt comfortable. We converted two meeting rooms into breakout rooms. One is a wellness room – a quiet room that employees can use to get away from their desk if they are feeling overwhelmed. It is also used as a prayer room. It’s got comfy sofas, cold water and tissues in there. We have another room which has an Xbox in it – it’s another place where employees can go to just take a bit of time out, away from their desk.
The blue lanyard that I’m wearing indicates that I’m a mental health first aider. Through Pep Talk, we now train new staff members every 3 months to become mental health first aiders. We wear a blue lanyard, instead of black, to ensure that we are recognisable around the office so people can approach us if they wish. We hold frequent drop-in clinics where employees can book in time with us to have a chat about anything – work related or not!
On a daily basis, all the mental health first aiders are well utilised. We often get messages on Teams from employees asking to go for a chat. We usually go for a walk or grab a coffee. From the feedback and conversations that I’ve had, people love having us here. I’m so glad employees have someone to reach out to whenever they need to, even in the middle of a busy day!
Pep Talk saved my working experience at DAZN and I think it saved many others too.
What does your role involve and what do you get out of it personally?
I absolutely love my job. My team and I make sure promotional material and advertising appears in the right place, at the right time, on screen. I look after the flow of the schedules of these materials and make sure they look as good as possible. I have become a huge boxing fan since I’ve been here. Before joining DAZN, I didn’t know much about boxing but now I’m obsessed and I love it!
What advice would you give to someone struggling with their mental health?
You should never be embarrassed to reach out to anyone. Talking is the saving grace of anyone struggling with their mental health. As a mental health first aider, we are trained to talk, assess, listen and signpost.
My door is always open – if you feel like you need a chat, we can go for a walk, grab a coffee or have a venting session!
Also, if you are a DAZN employee and want to become a mental health first aider, please reach out to Heather Lewis, People Partner.
Please remember – reach out. Don’t keep stuff to yourself.