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Marilyn Knapp (Maz)

Resource Manager EMEA Northern, Global Delivery

London, United Kingdom

“Now we have a team of MHFA’s at Hitachi Vantara to support our people on their mental wellbeing journey and raise awareness”

Tell us about yourself and what led you to become a MHFA?

I am a Resource Manager for the EMEA region primarily in the Managed Services space. I have a varied background in HR (CPP qualified), Recruitment, Resourcing, Management and Administration. I Live in Surrey, in a little town called Copthorne near Gatwick airport.

One of my core strengths is the ability to build strong working relationships at all levels. I felt that the next step to becoming a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) was an important qualification to support my role as Resource Manager.

Why do you think it’s important to discuss mental health in the workplace?

As a People Manager, I feel it's always important to find out how people are doing; it’s at the forefront of all my team meetings and one-one meetings. I believe without this knowledge, it's difficult to understand people's behavior and support them appropriately. I took the MHFA course to consolidate the knowledge I already had and to help other managers to identify the signs and to raise awareness.

Now we have a team of MHFA’s at Hitachi Vantara to support our people on their mental wellbeing journey and raise awareness across the organization. I not only use this in my work life but also in my personal life.

There is still lots of stigma around mental health, how do you think Hitachi Vantara as an organization and us as employees can overcome this?

This is new to a lot of organizations and employees. In the past, no one has ever wanted to seek help, people were not open to the idea of saying “they needed help”. This was often viewed as a sign of weakness. The fact that HV acknowledged they wanted to encourage staff to get trained and be able to provide support to their people is a great first step. We, MHFAs, plan to keep driving the knowledge for our employees to feel comfortable to reach out.

How do you ensure you take care of your own Mental Health & Wellness?

I regularly go for at least an hour a day for walking and spend time listening to podcasts. Alternatively, I also go to the gym, take time to walk my dogs, and spend quality time with my family - this also grounds me and helps my overall wellness.

Advice for those seeking mental health support despite the courage it requires.

It takes a lot of courage to come forward to say you are struggling and need help. At HV, I encourage everyone to take that first step as all our trained MHFAs created a safe and confidential space to start having the initial conversations.

We all have good days and bad days, and our mental health can be viewed as a continuum and it’s good to talk even if you view your position on the continuum as low, as this can prevent it from becoming a full-blown mental health episode. MHFAs are here to signpost the different options to how you could be feeling and is an excellent starting point.

Managing work-related stress and unhealthy competitiveness: share some tips or personal experiences?

Each situation is so different from person to person and how they react to certain circumstances.

For me, it is taking “one day” or even “one hour” to allow myself the time to digest and deal with the stresses.

Often in large corporates, managers are put in difficult situations, such as knocking staff back on performance reviews and even making staff redundant. It’s not an easy thing to disconnect from (especially if you have stuff in your personal life, you may be dealing with a bereavement or a low point) and to take personally, but you must step back and talk to fellow colleagues about how you are feeling, as more than often others are in the same situation. Recognizing you are struggling is the first step.

What brings you the most joy or inspiration in your life?

What brings me joy is ‘unplugging’ from real life stresses and taking time out for myself and my family in our ‘home away from home’ in Spain in the mountains.

Life at Hitachi Vantara

Hear from our employees all over the world about the goals they’ve achieved, their career journeys and
how life at Hitachi Vantara makes a difference.

Customer Testimonial

If an organization does not approach mental health with kindness and understanding, then I do not wish to be a part of it

Tyler Wright

Senior DevSecOps Engineer

Waltham, United States

Customer Testimonial

An inclusive culture has always been intrinsic to Hitachi, which fosters self-authenticity. And I just love working in the team I am in.

Bridie Arumugam,

Client Partner, Sales FSI

London, United Kingdom

Customer Testimonial

I’ve learned that when a person feels safe enough to ‘come out’, to live their lives authentically, they are much happier and more productive.

Teri Albert

Quality Engineer, DIBU Quality & Program Excellence Global Lead, LGBT+ Employee Resource Group

Dallas, United State

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