Mental Health Library opened in Boro…

After discovering the primary reason for time off in Teesside was linked to mental health, Unite in AXA and the AXA Teesside Management team decided to open Middlesbrough’s own ‘Mental Health Library’. They saw it as a simple opportunity to provide preventative support to colleagues.

It’s hoped that providing the books can support their development both personally and professionally as well as opening up healthy conversations about mind health in the site.

The library has been a bestseller since it opened, with every single book receiving a rave review so far. There’s a book for everyone on a variety of mind health topics – everything from how emotions are made, to mental clutter, to practical CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) workbooks. Next on the list, the ‘librarians’ are adding an MP3 player, pre-loaded with Mental Health podcasts and music therapies, for those who prefer to plug in and listen than read.

Sean Spinks, Customer Operations & Complaints Director, told us he’s been reading a book from the library called ‘Emotional First Aid’ by Guy Winch. The book is described as ‘a useful tool for anyone who wants to improve his or her outlook on life and resilience against its storms’. Sean told us;

“I’ve not finished the book yet, but it’s a great read so far. It touches on the way we naturally look after ourselves physically, but don’t apply the same principles to our mental health, and Guy talks about how we can start to manage our mind the same way we would our body. I’m looking forward to finishing it and borrowing another one from the library!”

Kriss Wearden, Customer Service Representative and Unite Representative in Teesside, was the driving force behind the opening of the library. He told us;

From my own experiences, AXA provides great support to colleagues for mental wellbeing, but it isn’t always signposted until someone might already be struggling. The idea that colleagues can take away a helpful resource back home to help support them seemed like an easy gap we could fill.”

Kriss also told us he is happy to offer advice to anyone looking to open their own library;

Please get in touch if you want to replicate this in your site. We’ve spent less than £250 on materials to get our library up and running so for any penny-pinchers out there – it doesn’t cost a lot for something so beneficial!  We are always up for freebies too, so if you’d like to donate any materials let me know!”

Leave a Comment