29 April, 2022

Staff wellbeing: Building a healthy and happy workplace at St Patrick’s

At St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS), our staff are invested in supporting people towards mentally healthy living. We, in turn, are invested in our staff. Find out more about our staff wellbeing initiatives.

Amanda McArdle has been working with us in SPMHS since 2014, and now manages our Walk in My Shoes campaign. Amanda is an active member of our Staff Wellbeing Committee. She tells us about the committee, the different staff wellbeing activities it runs, and what’s coming in 2022.

What is the Staff Wellbeing Committee?

What is the Staff Wellbeing Committee?

The Staff Wellbeing Committee is a staff-led initiative, conceived by our Human Resources (HR) and Communications departments, and first launched in October 2018. We work in partnership with the wider organisation to foster a work environment that contributes to the health and wellbeing of all SPMHS employees. We aim to support staff to adopt healthy habits and improve health and fitness levels, and to create opportunities for staff to socialise and spend time together.

Our members come from across the organisation. Some hold clinical or support roles in nursing, occupational therapy, social work, and wellness and recovery and others work in non-clinical areas such as HR, communications, and operations. It’s really important to us that we are as inclusive and representative as possible: we meet regularly to develop the work of the committee, and staff members’ ongoing suggestions and feedback are integral to its success.

We were very proud to have received the KeepWell Mark in 2019, just a year after the committee was launched, and to have kept it every year since. 

The KeepWell Mark is a workplace wellbeing accreditation from IBEC that helps organisations demonstrate their commitment to improving the lives of those who work for them. A number of managers and staff members were interviewed as part of the assessment process, which also involved a campus and documentary evidence review. It was a fantastic achievement as SPMHS became the first hospital or healthcare organisation in Ireland to be awarded and to retain the KeepWell Mark.

What staff wellbeing activities do we run?

What staff wellbeing activities do we run?

We run lots of different staff wellbeing activities every year, and staff from all departments take part in some way. We aim to make every initiative as inclusive as possible.

Some initiatives we’ve run include:

  • Mindfulness classes
  • A Step to Better Health Challenge for staff
  • A monthly Lunch and Learn series with guest speakers addressing a broad range of topics, from financial planning and digital detoxes to healthy sleep patterns and work-life balance
  • Healthy menus and food demonstrations
  • Celebrations to mark holidays such as Christmas and St Patrick’s Day, or awareness days like International Women’s Day or International Nurses Day
  • Staff fitness challenges
  • Kids’ art competitions
  • Staff discounts.

The most popular initiative we run which has the highest staff engagement every year is the Steps to Better Health Challenge. It is a four-week challenge where teams of staff join up and their members each complete 70,000 steps or more a week! Team coordinators update the committee with the total team step count each week, along with the names of those on the team who have walked 70,000 steps or more that week. As well as reminding staff of the health benefits of walking, staff are entered into a weekly draw for a voucher!

Since we started this challenge in 2019, over 300 staff members have taken part – and walked nearly 194 million steps in total! 

Some other initiatives stand out for us too:

  • In 2021, as part of our Lunch and Learn series, we were joined by Anna Geary, radio-TV broadcaster and performance and lifestyle coach, for a talk on self-motivation and motivating others. Feedback from staff was really positive.
  • Another popular session was the Sing at Work workshop, an 1980s-themed singing session which included fun vocal warm ups, breakdown of a song, and a mash-up of 1980s songs.
  • In August 2021, we ran a Great Outdoors four-week challenge for staff members and their families, packed with weekly activities like nature scavenger hunts and family picnics. There were four winning families and they all received a Family All Access pass to Tayto Park.

These are great opportunities for staff to come together. While we used to host a lot of events onsite – like our Lunch and Learn sessions being held in the Lecture Hall of St Patrick’s University Hospital – we moved everything online during the COVID pandemic. We try to include out of hours’ activities, and, as restrictions ease and the way we live through the pandemic changes, we will hopefully begin to organise more in-person activities.

What staff activities do we have planned for 2022?

What staff activities do we have planned for 2022?

We have lots of staff wellbeing initiatives planned for this year:

  • Workplace Wellbeing Day takes place on the 29 April and is an important day for us to promote to staff in SPMHS. We have arranged a number of wellbeing activities for staff to get engaged with, including a mindfulness session, online painting workshop and more.
  • International Nurse’s Day is coming up on 12 May. In SPMHS, we have over 300 nurses and so we are always delighted to recognise this day. We send our nurses a token as a ‘thank you’ for the incredible work they do all year round.
  • The Lunch and Learn series is back – we have lots of great talks planned for the months ahead! These take place online every month with recordings available afterwards so that staff can watch back and find out more about the different topics they’re interested in.
  • The Great Outdoors Challenge will return in the month of August after it proved so popular last year.

There’ll be lots more happening in between – make sure to follow SPMHS on social media (scroll down to find our channels) and see some more from our activities!

Are you interested in joining our team?

We really value our staff and the difference they make in the lives of people going through mental health difficulties. We are always on the lookout for motivated, dedicated people to be part of this, whether in clinical or non-clinical roles. If you are interested in joining our team, we would love to hear from you: find out more about our career pathways below. 

Are you interested in joining our team?