5 Lessons from the Thriving Minds conference 2018

5 Lessons from the Thriving Minds conference 2018

This blog post touches on five lessons from the Thriving Minds conference 2018 organised by Thrive Law in Leeds. The event welcomed 60 participants from Yorkshire businesses, 12 speakers sharing their insights, stories and perspective on mental health and 9 interactive workshops.

As mentioned in our post last week, our involvement related to the workbook the participants received on the day to assist them in achieving the core standards as recommended in the Thriving at Work report. I took notes in my own workbook throughout the day and shared insights with my team.

Lesson 1: Change starts from the top

Greg Wright from the Yorkshire Post opened the conference by talking about the Skipton Building Society and how they integrated mental health first aiders in their organisation.

5 Lessons from the Thriving Minds conference 2018

What is remarkable in this example is how change started from the most senior levels of the organisation. The senior leadership team at Skipton Building Society acknowledged that mental health issues, whether temporary or long or short-term, were on the increase.

They realised that there was a stigma attached to talking about these issues and they wanted to play their part as a responsible employer in removing barriers. They provided leaders and HR teams with the knowledge and skills to support colleagues.

Skipton Building Society now has 50 qualified mental health first aiders in the workplace. Colleagues are now more aware of the signs and symptoms and feel better equipped to initiate conversations and signpost colleagues to professional help if required.

Read Greg’s piece about the Thriving Minds conference, titled ‘Improving mental health training will make UK economy more inclusive and competitive’.

Lesson 2: How to be a mindful employer

As my aspirations for Research Retold grow, I want to ensure that we are a mindful employer and that we take the physical and mental wellbeing of those who work with us seriously.

Fiona Devenney from Leeds Mind presented the 10 steps toolkit developed by Leeds Mind on how to be a Mindful Employer. Access it here: http://mindfulemployertensteps.co.uk/.

This is a free, practical resource available for organisation of any size who need some help getting started on their mental health policy.

Lesson 3: What I eat affects my mental health

Lisa Chothia, from Super Wellness, gave a brilliant talk about nutrition for the mind. I’m fascinated by the links between what we feed our body with and the overall effects on our wellbeing.

5 Lessons from the Thriving Minds conference 2018

Lisa focused on 5 food groups that were good for the mind, or what she calls ‘brain food’.

  1. Good fats. including the omega 3s and 6s, which as Lisa highlighted, help ‘to make our cells squidgy so that they can easily let nutrients in’. Commonly found in SMASHT – oily fishes (Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring, Trout).
  2. The right kind of carbs. Those that release glucose slowly. This includes veggies, beans, legumes, and whole grains.
  3. Protein. Can contain tryptophan, which then synthesises serotonin, which makes us happy! Give me some eggs, tofu, cheese, salmon, nuts and seeds.
  4. Magnesium. We may be low in if we are feeling ‘jittery’. Best found in almonds, oats, buckwheat, beans.
  5. Zinc. Ginger is now my go-to in smoothies!

She also mentioned purple foods and challenging ourselves to include them in our diet. For example, red cabbage, aubergines, red onion, berries. Guess what I bought at the market this weekend…

Lesson 4: Stories are powerful

Paul Lanfear from Property Angels came to share his experience with burnout and how he recovered. He shared his touching story and how despite his success he was feeling unable to move forward. Paul was lucky to receive the support of his colleagues when he opened up. He highlighted the importance of open communication, asking for help, eating well and prioritising self-care.

5 Lessons from the Thriving Minds conference 2018

Similarly, Johnny Lawless shared the experience of how his close friend took his life. I was in tears when Johnny spoke and felt his struggle and pain when he blamed himself for not seeing it coming. His experience motivated him to set up Minds Matter, an organisation that aims to help reduce suicide rates, spread awareness and break down the surrounding stigma.

5 Lessons from the Thriving Minds conference 2018

Lesson 5: The human mind thinks it knows what’s going to happen next

Rob Vickerman, ex-England Rugby captain now in charge of workathlete, brought fresh energy on the day by delivering his session in Roundhay Park. It was a glorious idea.

He kicked off his talk by playing a game, which demonstrated that the human mind thinks it knows what is going to happen next, but that is not always the case.

I could tell you what the experiment was, but I invite you to watch the video and see for yourself. The video also highlights key moments on the day.


5 Lessons from the Thriving Minds Conference 2018

What do you think of these 5 lessons learned at the Thriving Minds conference?

Thank you for Jodie Hill and her amazing Thrive Law team for making the conference happen. We look forward to next year’s conference!

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