What is a Mental Health Check-In?


20th May 2020


4 min


Bethan Vincent

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation‚ Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 10th – 16th May 2021.

Even under normal circumstances‚ mental health is something we take extremely seriously at hedgehog lab. We believe our collective success comes from everyone in the businesses having the tools and support they need both inside and outside of work. 

Last year we ensured members of staff were trained appropriately to support colleagues as Mental Health First Aiders.  This ensures they have the skills and knowledge required to help guide colleagues to the relevant help and further support. They are also trained to spot someone who is developing mental health issues and intervene appropriately before the situation escalates. 

Alongside providing reactive support‚ we also want to ensure that we create a positive culture around mental health within the organisation‚ with pro-active measures in place to help support colleagues at all times. This has become especially important over the last two months.

What is a Mental Health Check-In?

A mental health check-in at hedgehog lab is a scheduled one-to-one meeting between a trained member of staff and all employees. This ensures everyone at hedgehog lab‚ regardless of team or position‚ has regular contact with a mental health first aider.

These meetings are safe‚ non-judgemental spaces in which colleagues can discuss any issues they are having‚ work-related or not. They also give us the chance to check in with each other and provide time for discussions outside of a purely work-focused context‚ which has become especially important since we moved to a fully remote setup.

It’s important to note that these meetings are not forced. We absolutely respect a colleague’s decision not to discuss or disclose a particular issue‚ but we believe it’s important to give them the opportunity to do so. 

How Do You Conduct One?

We paired each mental health first aider with a group of staff members to arrange individual half-hour chats at a convenient time via Zoom.

 As we are currently aware of the impact of lockdown and social distancing on everyone’s lives‚ we ensured our questions were focused on wellbeing during this period:

  • How have you adapted to the lockdown?
  • What have been the worst / best days for you? Why is that?
  • How are you finding food‚ exercise and sleep? Is there anything that could help with this?
  • How has your schedule changed since the transition? Do you feel you have a routine in place that supports you?
  • How has your engagement been with friends and family? 

Finally and most importantly‚ we asked – what can we do to help you?  

It’s important to understand that if you ask this question‚ you need to be able to follow through with action. For example‚ we are able to offer sessions with external services if colleagues require specific support we can not provide internally. 

Other Support You Can Offer

Alongside providing safe spaces in which colleagues can speak about issues‚ we are also ensuring that our social events continue during this period. This important both to maintain company culture‚ but also from a mental health perspective. 

Social events could take the form of a quiz‚ cook along sessions or even an old fashioned LAN party. With tools such as Zoom‚ it has never been easier to get people together virtually.

You could also make the most of unique skills within your business. Do you have someone with gardening or craft skills within your organisation who would be willing to share their knowledge with colleagues? 

Finally‚ it’s also important to allow people to share their own experiences. As we have all been experiencing lockdown for two months now‚ many people have developed positive strategies for managing work and their mental health. 

For more resources on mental health awareness week‚ check out the Mental Health Foundation. We’re also happy to answer any further questions on our internal processes and procedures‚ please contact us to find out more.