Podcast Episode 29: Mental Health First Aid with Adelle Shaw-Flach

This week, Lucinda is joined by Adelle Shaw-Flach, a trained public health nurse, academic, performance coach, and Director of The Sweet Potato Consultancy, which is dedicated to improving employee wellbeing within organisations, and by doing so, enhancing the organisation itself.

With over thirty years’ experience in wellbeing, health, and education, Adelle has made it her personal mission to help companies to achieve a more compassionate and informed approach to the wellbeing of their staff. During this episode, Lucinda and Adelle discuss Mental Health First Aid and look at the different ways in which HR can support people within the workplace to help improve employee wellbeing.


Key Takeaways

  • Most people these days are working more hours, but getting less done due to fatigue. There are optimal times in the day when we are at our peak, but many ignore this and push on, losing sleep, and becoming far less productive as a result.
  • Almost 40% of young people between 16 and 25 are being diagnosed with mental health issues.
  • Social media and an “always-on” lifestyle, along with the new and constant testing at schools, are adding to the issues arising in young people.
  • Certainly, it is essential that we encourage a culture where discussing or raising mental health issues in the workplace and employee wellbeing is acceptable and comfortable.
  • Adelle recommends the practice of confidential sharing between HR professionals, so as to share the issues they’ve been facing amongst themselves. This can have a relieving effect, and also can point the way towards methods in which we can solve problems in a different way.
  • Mental Health First Aid was first devised in Australia, created by a nurse who worked with a professor to design a system of achieving parity between mental and physical health.
  • Those with long-term physical health issues are more at risk of developing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Above all, it’s important for the people at the top of any business to lead by example; to not overwork themselves. This can, therefore, lead to a belief that any kind of success will only be achieved by doing the same.

Best Moments

  • “I decided to focus on what was happening in the workplace because we spend so much time there”
  • “The trajectory is that this will get worse and worse”
  • “When we talk about mental health, often what we’re referring to is mental ill-health”
  • “You need to start with putting your oxygen mask on”
  • “The environment has got to support that”
  • “We need to start by leading from the top”   

Valuable Resources

About The Guest

Broken minds, broken bodies, and broken organisations! Adelle Shaw-Flach founded The Sweet Potato Consultancy to bridge the gap between wellbeing and the workplace. To show leaders that there is another way. That by understanding people, their minds, bodies, and behaviours you can, consequently, create workplaces where people thrive.

Adelle has spent over 20 years working in health and education, and also as an academic and in research creating strategies to stop burn out for health professionals. She’s worked with and within organisations to implement strategies for change and facilitating programmes for senior management and frontline staff.

She brings a unique blend of skills, knowledge, and experience to the working environment. As a result, her passion is helping large and small companies tackle high turnover, absenteeism, presenteeism, poor morale and performance caused by workplace stress, mental health, and wellbeing issues. To stop the massive wastage of people.

Adelle’s published research shows that what leaders and managers do (or don’t do) matters almost more than anything else. Each workplace has unique challenges that require unique solutions. So The Sweet Potato Consultancy works with leaders carrying out consultancy, education, and support to create solutions to their issues. Solutions that are sustainable and last.

Adelle is always happy to have a chat so please get in touch with her using the contact details below:

About The Host

Lucinda Carney is a Business Psychologist with 15 years in Senior Corporate L&D roles and a further 10 as CEO of Actus Software where she worked closely with HR colleagues helping them to solve the same challenges across a huge range of industries. Therefore, it was this breadth of experience that inspired Lucinda to set up the HR Uprising community to facilitate greater collaboration across HR professionals in different sectors, helping them to ‘rise up’ together.

“When we look up we rise up”

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