At Deep Silver Dambuster Studios, we have two staff-led internal working groups, the Diversity Council, and the Wellbeing Committee. Both are run by team members from a variety of departments and levels of seniority. The Wellbeing Committee is made up of seven volunteers -- each of whom expressed their interest in helping improve the level of mental health and wellbeing support available to studio members.
‘I was keen to join/start a wellbeing committee when I began to see the impact the pandemic had on people and groups in the studio. The Wellbeing Committee has been successful in providing an outlet. I, for one, have enjoyed getting to know people I maybe wouldn't have, had we gone about our regular days in the studio
Interacting with new people as a listening ear of support during difficult times or having a chat, rant, or sharing weekend plans as part of a group -- it's all beneficial.
Some of the events we've been able to host have also been an extra bonus’ – Emma Green, Talent Development & Diversity Specialist
[The Wellbeing Committee's seven members span HR, QA, Engineering, Tech Art and Operations]
The Wellbeing Committee’s Mission Statement:
We want all of our employees to be happy, healthy and resilient in all aspects of their lives. Our mission is to empower and motivate all to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing. This goal is achieved by:
• Providing support for one another and promoting a culture of safety, trust and caring.
• Educate our employees to better understand themselves and develop empathy for others on wellbeing issues.
• Facilitating the time and opportunities to practice healthy lifestyle behaviours.
How Does it Work?
The Wellbeing Committee usually meets at least once a month to brainstorm ideas, work on initiatives and hold the studio accountable when it comes to all things mental health and wellbeing related. If anyone from the studio has a suggestion for how we can support employee mental health and wellbeing, they can either reach out to a member of the committee or make an anonymous suggestion through our suggestion box.
They are then picked up and made into a point of discussion during one of the committee’s regular meetings.
Here are some of the things the committee has worked on so far.
Mental Health First Aider Certification
Back in May, all members of the Wellbeing Committee underwent two weeks of training to become certified Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA).
The training covered areas such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders and equips MHFA’ers with the skills and knowledge needed to recognise the early warning signs of poor mental health and how to intervene to put those affected on the track towards recovery.
We have an open-door policy in place where anybody in the studio can get in touch with a committee member to receive support, whether they are experiencing a mental health crisis or just need someone to talk to.
[The MHFA training consisted of four separate two and a half hour training sessions over a two week period]
Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Awareness Week is a time when we are encouraged to speak openly about our mental health, discuss help and support services and learn how we can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of ourselves and those around us.
This year, the Wellbeing Committee at Dambuster organised a series of informative and fun events for the whole studio to get involved with.
We have already covered these activities and events in an earlier blog (which you can read here) so we won’t go into details, but some of the things that took place include virtual coffee mornings, guest speakers, and competitions based around being creative.
Fortnightly Coffee Sessions
Every two weeks, at least two members of the Wellbeing Committee host a virtual coffee session, which anyone is welcome to drop into for a chin wag.
Everyone can join the calls, whether you want to get actively involved in the conversation, jump in and out of a chat whilst cracking on with some work, or just fancy listening.
[Check out the jigsaw we recently completed as a team during a coffee break]
These regular catchups have helped us keep in contact with one another whilst we’re all working from home. They’ve also encouraged people from different parts of the studio – who may not regularly interface with each other—to get to know one another.
'I think one of the best things we’ve introduced through the committee – and ironically one of the simplest things to set up – has been the fortnightly coffee and chat sessions
We’ve had lots of positive feedback from attendees who have said the chats have broken up their day and made them feel more connected with the rest of the studio. I’ve personally really enjoyed having a natter with some new faces!’ – Toby Gallagher, Studio Community Manager.
We now have a space on our internal intranet system dedicated to mental health and wellbeing support for the studio.
Here studio members can find useful resources, links to mental health support services, materials from various talks, and more.
They can also find information on how to get involved in some of the activities offered by the studio, such as yoga and Pilates, and there’s a handy catalogue of the many internal social channels available to join on our instant messaging platform (which includes the immensely popular Pets channel where we share pictures of our furry, fluffy, feathered and scaly colleagues!).
[The Wellbeing Committee during one of their regular meetings]
The Wellbeing Committee has more initiatives and events on the horizon, and we look forward to sharing more information about them with you in the future on our social channels. As always, the best way to keep up with everything we are doing is by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn where we post regularly.
Thanks for reading and if you are ever struggling with your own mental health or want to help maintain your own wellbeing, there are some useful links below.
The NHS There are various mental health support services available to UK residents.
Find a local NHS helpline here: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline
Safe in Our World
The mental health charity for gamers and people working in the industry. There's plenty of resources on SIOW's website including stories from gamers and industry professionals who have experienced mental health struggles. The find help section of the website has useful numbers and organisations for a multitude of countries.
Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, often through their telephone helpline.
Free phone number: 116 123