Here in the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) our role is to protect and enhance public and animal health by regulating medicines, medical devices and other health products and to monitor the safety of cosmetics.

The health of people and animals is at the very core of everything we do.  This core ethos is also embedded into our organisational culture with the health and wellbeing of everyone working in the HPRA being a key part of our organisational strategy.  We are committed to providing an organisational culture where healthy lifestyle choices are valued and encouraged, with mental wellbeing a key component of our health and wellbeing strategy.

In 2018 we set out on our journey to become a See Change Workplace partner and complete the 6 step pledge programme.  We teamed up with SOS to help us open up discussions on how mental wellbeing effects each one of us and to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable in starting a discussion around mental wellbeing, without the fear of stigma.  Workshops were also held which gave our managers and colleagues alike, the confidence to have these conversations.  We are delighted and very proud to say that in May 2019 we achieved our goal and officially became a See Change Workplace partner.

This will always be an ongoing journey for us, with SOS playing a major part in it. They help us learn how to have normal, everyday conversations about our mental health by creating a common language so everyone feels easier to be open and ask for help when they are struggling.  When we have new team members join the organisation our mental wellbeing focus and culture is explained and they are encouraged to participate in the workshops we hold with SOS. This is to ensure that everyone is included, understands and feels part of this ongoing mental wellbeing journey.

The last few months have been a very tough and challenging time for everyone. However, the culture we are creating with the help of SOS, has really helped us embed the message that ‘It’s ok to not feel ok’, to open up conversations to help one another when we are having a bad day and seek help if we need it.  We plan to keep developing and prioritising mental wellbeing, now and in the future and look forward to continuing our relationship with SOS.

Liz Giltrap, L&D Co-ordinator, HPRA