2023-11-13 14:52

Quiet Rooms Support Mental Health At Work

Marvin Bowers is a Mental Health First Aider who started out as a CWU Greater Mersey Amal until changing jobs, and is now a member of the Merseyside FBU Branch. He remains an active MHFA and still works with his old Branch MHFAs on Mental Health support. Here he tells Unionsafety and CWU's North West Mental Health Network about his work to provide a 'Quiet Room with the support of his then manager, and prior to his change of employer and subsequent membership of the FBU:

image; Marvin BowersSeveral years ago after becoming a mental health first aider, the idea of a quiet room within the workplace was floated around to see if it was possible to have one in each workplace.

I didn’t know much about these at the time, so I decided that if I was going to arrange to have one, then I best know a little bit about them.

After speaking to my manager about how it could benefit the office, she agreed to allow me the time to carry out any activity it would take to put it in place.

Unfortunately, in my workplace there was not the facility of a spare room to use as a functional quiet room. Based on this I decided that a quiet area would be the best option and I identified and cleared an area ready to become our new quiet area.

After sourcing some fabric office dividers, I collected them and started to build what I now seen as my passion project. Knowing that this could and would help others in the future was a massive motivator and was wonderful for my own personal mental health too.

Once my 8ft x 8ft box was built, I wanted to make sure that anybody who needed help could come in and sit down a relax if they needed to, all while being able to access any signposting material they may find useful. This would all be done in a space out of the way and not in the general foot traffic or the workplace, so people would not feel others knew if they were going in and wonder what it was for.

I added some small tables, various type of chairs and plenty of posters with details of organisations for all different kinds of issues somebody could face. These ranged from Alcohol and gambling Addiction to bereavement support post suicide and support for stress, depression and anxiety.

I wanted to do so much with this area to ensure that the people who used it felt safe secure and could relax when in there. The type of things I wanted to include were a material canopy above, so it felt enclosed and not part of the warehouse style building we were in. Some artwork or posters and lastly a small library to enable anybody to borrow a book to help with some self-care, allowing some time away from their daily life and be lost in the world of literature.

To do this I started by donating some of my own books and asking others within the workplace too. I also searched social media for anybody giving books away. It got to the point where I then had to source a book case, and at last count there was over 70 books there.

Since then the quiet area has been used frequently for conversations around individuals mental health, for somebody who just needs 5 minutes or longer away from a stressful situation or day. It has been a place to reflect and release emotions out of view.

Many other locations within the business have now introduced quiet rooms, with staff getting involved to improve the space and turn it into everything it should be. Adding murals, artwork, plants, comfortable seating and turning them into the inspirational, relaxing areas they are intended to be.

Every workplace would benefit from a quiet area/room and getting the workforce involved to make it something for them and something they could be proud of ensures its looked after and used to benefit everybody whether it be on their best or worst day.


Designed & Content: Mark Holt Jamie McGovern

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