In sessions with Alpine – it’s good to talk!

The importance of supporting our team members will never be underestimated at Alpine – we recognise the value a ‘mind healthy’ team brings so we actively encourage a safe environment for open communication.

These past 12 months have been challenging and, as a result, more people than ever may be worried about their mental wellbeing and how to overcome struggles.

The Alpine Wellness team proactively looked for some practical ways to help keep Alpine mentally well. One was to invite Danny Sculthorpe, to share his experience with his own mental health on two virtual zoom meetings delivered to all our employees across the UK.

Danny played just under 300 professional rugby league games before a serious spinal injury forced him into retirement. As a result, Danny suffered from depression quite badly but courageously came through the other side. Danny shared his story in such a down-to-earth way clearly relaying the passion he held for his career and the deep emotions he went through when all that he believed defined him was taken away.

Our main mental well-being take away from Danny is to “Talk about your feelings” – this is not a sign of weakness, by talking you are taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. And if you are chosen to be the listener, let silence happen…..someone may be about to open up to you.

Some other great tips to stay mind healthy were to exercise regularly, eat healthily, listen to music as it releases serotonin, practice breathing exercises if you feel anxious, and most importantly, accept who you are – you are unique and should never compare yourself to others.

Some of our team members have chosen to share their thoughts from the session;

Leon, Proposals Engineer

Danny’s story struck a chord with me as his life-changing injury is an example of how trauma, if not discussed openly and without embarrassment can lead you to a dark place. As someone who lost two close relatives in a car crash in my mid 20’s I’ve been in a situation where you feel like you just want to reverse time and struggle to accept things. Life goes on with those who are there to support you but if they don’t know you need to talk then they can’t help. Always speak to someone!

Jared, Business Development Lead

When Danny spoke about family and the importance they play in his life, and that ‘nothing is more important than family and they need me’, this really resonated with me. It made me realise that I’m safe to be open with my family about any struggles and that they also need me, even when I feel they might not!

Donna, Service Delivery Manager

When Danny was speaking about his nerves and sickness before each game which almost jeopardised his chance of playing, it confirmed to me that all walks of life at some point will experience anxiety… even big, strong rugby players. The breathing technique (in for 4 hold for 5 and out for 6) Danny shared to reduce heart rate and blood pressure was a great takeaway tip – I had the opportunity to try it out at the weekend. Other tips for me ‘See possibilities, not problems’!  and ‘take a break’ when pressure is building up.

Tracey, Health, Safety & Environmental Manager

The sessions were actually quite touching – for the first time, we had peers discussing their own experiences with mental health issues (especially anxiety) with other people they would never have spoken to so openly before. People on the surface who we would never have realised felt the way they have been doing! They were actually “reaching out to each other” which I found really emotional just to see! I feel there is a stigma, especially with men, that they don’t need to talk about their feelings as it could be perceived as a weakness. I want to start working on changing that with the younger generation now so they grow up without the stigma – I think if we can change it now, there will be fewer suicides in the future.