Susi Cardew

Disguise has a mental health buddy programme where any team member can volunteer to lend a helping hand to someone who needs support with their mental health - signposting them to professionals as and when needed. This Mental Health Awareness Week we sat down with our Talent Director Susi Cardew to learn why talking to someone is so important. 

Why did you become a mental health buddy? 

Mental well-being is so crucial to us all, across all parts of our lives. The last 3 years of COVID-19, economic pressures and social media/news have only made this more apparent. I have worked on my mental wellbeing and wanted to be able to better support others around me.

How was the training process?

The training is so well thought through. This is an intense subject which can include subjects that can be triggering but it is delivered at a pace and with a calmness that allows you to digest what you hear, think about it and apply simple tools to support wellbeing.

What have you learnt so far while doing this?

I was surprised how quickly I found myself in a situation where I could really apply this. The training not only gave me tools to support someone in crisis but also gave me the confidence to approach the situation and stranger and engage.

What does mental health mean to you? 

We all have mental health and when it is compromised, it can take many forms. For me, it is about how I think about myself and what I do particularly when my wellbeing is compromised. It’s a very personal thing but it is also a very ‘normal’ thing.

How can we all help protect our own and others’ mental health?

Talking, talking, talking. It’s not easy for everyone to talk. The important thing is to ensure you reach out. Even if you’re not sure what is wrong, it’s better to talk to a friend/colleague/family member/specialist/GP. 

We can all check in on the people around us too to ensure they feel they have someone looking out for them.

What are the benefits to becoming a mental health buddy?

Doing the training has not only provided me with tools to deploy myself when I am feeling low or anxious, it has given me the confidence to continue talking about the subject and to step into a situation if I suspect someone might be in trouble.