Introducing our Ambassador Team - Lucy Killick | Outsource UK
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Introducing our Ambassador Team - Lucy Killick

17th May 2024
Our employees

We believe that everyone has the potential to be the best person for the job, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or disability. Which is why we have a team of Inclusion Ambassadors who are becoming subject matter experts in their special interest. They support our colleagues and our clients on Inclusion and form part of our commitment to be the UK's best inclusive recruiter.

We caught up with Lucy Killick, our Contractor Services Consultant and Anxiety Ambassador.

Hi Lucy, tell us about yourself!

Hi everyone, I’m Lucy and I’ve been at Outsource since January 2024 (although it feels like I’ve been here years now!) as a Contractor Services Consultant - I am loving it so far with everyone here being so lovely.

Why did you choose to be our Anxiety Ambassador?

I decided I wanted to become the Anxiety Ambassador after participating in our 'Time to Talk' day, where we openly discussed mental health issues both within and outside the workplace. Engaging in conversations with my colleagues about their experiences highlighted the significance of sharing my own journey. What better avenue to do so than by taking on the role of an Anxiety Ambassador!

Can you share with us what living with Chronic Anxiety and Generalised Anxiety Disorder is like for you?

Living with these conditions involves ongoing challenges like persistent worry, physical symptoms such as muscle tension and fatigue, as well as impacts on daily functioning and relationships. While it may sound daunting, many of these symptoms can be managed through therapy, lifestyle adjustments, medication and support from loved ones.

Personally, I find a combination of these strategies helpful. If you've never experienced anxiety, imagine your body constantly in a state of "fight, flight, or freeze." My mind and body are always on high alert, prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Are there specific triggers or situations that intensify your anxiety that you're comfortable sharing?

For me, triggers include having access to basic necessities and knowing their whereabouts. Examples include knowing the location of a loo, having access to food when hungry and being aware of a safe space to retreat to if feeling overwhelmed. Consequently, whenever I visit new locations, I must carry numerous essentials such as snacks, drinks, emergency sickness bags, anti-nausea medication, pain relievers, etc. You name it, I likely have it on hand, just in case! Additionally, I extensively research unfamiliar places beforehand to ensure I know the location of exits and the nearest loo.

What types of support or resources have you found most helpful in managing your anxiety?

Managing anxiety effectively often involves a combination of therapy, medication, self-help techniques like relaxation exercises, joining support groups, adopting healthy lifestyle habits, practicing stress management, educating oneself about anxiety, engaging in creative outlets, relying on social support and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals. For me, I have found that having a strong support system around me coupled with medication, and various self-help techniques really helpful. Additionally, when experiencing anxiety, accepting the feeling and navigating through its waves has proven helpful for me.

Can you share any coping strategies or routines that help you navigate challenging days?

A big one for me is allowing myself to take it slow and not putting added pressure on myself to try to get more done than I am capable of in a day. Being able to work from home also allows me to stay cosy in my "safe zone" while remaining productive. Taking time out of my day to do something that I enjoy, whether it's as significant as writing in my journal or as minor as taking a nap, is essential for me. Allowing myself time to do what I need to feel safe is vital. Having someone I can talk to both in and out of work to let them know that today is particularly tricky is good too. It takes the pressure off feeling like I need to explain myself if I'm not my usual self throughout the day.

Are there adjustments or accommodations that have helped you perform your job more effectively?

Being surrounded by people that foster such a supportive attitude towards mental health and anxiety automatically removes any stigma around living with anxiety or any mental health struggles for that matter. Also having the ability to work from home if I need to is very helpful. Having access to resources such as Health Assured is a massive help! I have used it many times and will always encourage employers to give their employees access to an Employee Assistance Program like this.

What actions can employers take to better support employees with anxiety disorders?

Employers can do so many things!

  1. Promote awareness: educate employees and managers about anxiety disorders to reduce stigma and foster empathy.
  2. Flexible work arrangements: offer remote work options and flexible hours to accommodate employees' needs.
  3. Reasonable accommodations: identify and implement adjustments to workload or workspace to support employees with anxiety.
  4. Encourage self-care: promote well-being and provide resources for stress reduction and mental health support.
  5. Regular check-ins: schedule check-ins to discuss well-being and offer support.
  6. Lead by example: Demonstrate support for mental health initiatives and prioritise self-care.

By implementing strategies like these, employers can create a supportive environment where employees with anxiety disorders feel valued and empowered.

Is there anything that you wish more people, especially employers, understood about living with Chronic Anxiety and Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Absolutely, living with both can be incredibly challenging, there are several aspects that I wish more people, especially employers, understood. It goes beyond normal stress. It involves living in a constant state of worry, fear, and apprehension that can interfere with daily functioning and quality of life. It's important that employers recognise this.

Additionally, it can drastically impact productivity depending on the individual's daily experience. Symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, restlessness and fatigue can make it challenging to focus and complete tasks efficiently. Employers should have support in place to accommodate this.

Encouraging employees with anxiety disorders to prioritise self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance is crucial. This may include promoting breaks, flexible work arrangements and access to mental health resources. Recognising the importance of self-care can help prevent burnout and improve overall well-being.

Lastly, it's essential to understand that anxiety disorders are not a choice. Individuals cannot simply "snap out of it" or "think positively" to overcome their symptoms on a bad day. Employers should avoid stigmatizing or blaming employees for their anxiety and instead focus on providing appropriate support and resources.

Facing mental health challenges can seem intimidating at first, but it's crucial to remember that they are manageable, especially with the support of those around you. While it might feel scary initially, with help and encouragement from friends, family, or professionals, you can navigate through these obstacles with relative ease. By creating a supportive atmosphere and reaching out for assistance when necessary, you'll find that you can handle these challenges and keep moving forward, even if there are a few bumps along the way.

How can workplaces promote better mental health awareness and destigmatization of conditions like Chronic Anxiety and Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Many things can be done and I’ve mentioned some already but the main thing for me is employers offering education and training to employees about mental health and providing resources such as counselling services and helplines.

Training managers to recognise signs of anxiety and offer support, reviewing organisational policies to ensure they support mental health, and regularly gathering feedback and evaluating program effectiveness are essential steps in fostering a workplace that prioritises mental health and reduces stigma.

What have you got planned for your role as an Ambassador for this year?

As an Ambassador for anxiety, mental health awareness and destigmatization this year, I'm focused on advocating for understanding and acceptance of conditions like anxiety disorders. I'll develop resources and engage with people to foster open discussions about mental health.

I'll also advocate for policies supporting mental health care and prioritise my own wellbeing to continue effective advocacy. My goal is to contribute to a society where mental health is valued, understood, and supported, empowering individuals to seek help without stigma.   

Want to learn more about our Inclusion Ambassador Team? 

Visit our Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance page for more information and to see all of our amazing Ambassadors.

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