Mental health and wellbeing

Latest Wellbeing 3.0 events starting from 15 February

Every day: Monday - Friday 8am- 8.30am

Free 8am online morning workouts with personal trainer SIBS

Meeting ID: 856 0890 6111 Passcode: SibsFit (code changes on Monday 22 February)

  • Monday – upper body
  • Tuesday – lower body
  • Wednesday – ab attack
  • Thursday – resistance bands
  • Friday - Box fit cardio

Tuesday 16 February...

is Pancake Day, a day many people use up the treats in the kitchen cupboard before giving them up for Lent (which starts on Ash Wednesday 17 February). For those who don't observe Lent, why not just indulge in a delicious pancake? The Naked Natural Chef will be sharing a video clip for a healthy buckwheat pancake recipe which will be made available tomorrow via the Workplace Wellbeing Hub.


Wednesday 17 February, 1pm - it's a LGBTQ+ themed wellbeing sing-a-long this week, to support LGBTQ+ History Month hosted by Paul Elphick.


Every Wednesday from 5.30 – Wednesday night yoga with Karen Morrell.


Thursday 18 February 12.30 - 1pm - Able Futures Mental Health Webinar - tips and strategies to be kind to yourself.


Thursday 18 February 5.30pm, Healthy eating cook-a-long with Naked Natural Chef (Brazilian fish stew) book your place on Eventbrite here. The second healthy eating cook-a-long is on Friday 26 February (Thai Green Prawn Curry), the Eventbrite booking link is here. Although the direct calendar link is below - please make sure you still book via Eventbrite so the Naked Natural Chef can send you the list of ingredients you will need ahead of the cook-a-long.


Further healthy eating tips:


Friday 19 February, 12.30 - 1.30 BEA Book and Film Club - we can't go to the cinema or coffee shop, so these types of clubs are a good way of socialising, talking about current issues and learning about them at the same time. This month's film up for discussion is the Netflix documentary, Crip Camp, about a ground breaking summer camp for young people with disabilities.


All our wellbeing events are updated on the Workplace Wellbeing Hub here.

To keep those high energy levels from the step challenge up and to encourage more people to focus on their wellbeing, (particularly during lockdown), we are launching a new campaign Wellbeing 3.0 starting on Monday 1 February running right through until Friday 26 February.

The Wellbeing 3.0 schedule for the next few weeks is below. Please make sure you visit the Workplace Wellbeing Hub on Yammer for more details.


Weds 10 February Wednesday night Yoga

Karen Morrell


Thurs 11 February 12.30pm Lunchtime quiz

Frances Errington

Tamara Wright hosting


Thurs 11 February 12.30

Body conditioning

with instructor Tais

Body conditioning


Weds 17 February 5.30pm

Wednesday Yoga

Karen Morrell


Weds 17 February 1-2pm LGBTQ+ History Month theme

Staff Wellbeing singing session

Paul Elphick


Thursday 18 February 2021 12.30-13.00

Able Futures Mental Health webinar


Thurs 18 February 5.30pm Healthy eating cook-a-long (Brazilian Fish Stew Moqueca)

Sheila Tompkins Natural Naked Chef

Healthy Brazilian Fish Stew 


Tues 23 February 12.30

Core stability with instructor Tais link 


Weds 24 Feb Wednesday Yoga

Karen Morrell


Thurs 25 Feb 5.30pm Meditation

Rob Mazure


Friday 26 Feb Healthy eating cook-a-long (Green Thai prawn or vegetable curry)

Sheila Tompkins Natural Naked Chef

Healthy Green Thai Curry


Make sure you look after your mental health

Even though the festive season has been very different this year, people still have to juggle work and home pressures - making this a period of extra challenges.

There are a number of mental health resources that Barnet Council supports and encourages its staff (including those from our partner organisations) to access should they need it, whatever the time of year.

It’s ok to ask for help if you feel like you are struggling. We have around 100 colleagues in the organisation who are trained as Mental Health First Aiders, plus digital support resources are available from organisations like Health AssuredAble FuturesGood Thinking and Thrive London.

For those of you that are 'Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, it is important that you do not come into work under any circumstances; you should have already been written to by the NHS in November, if not please check with your GP. Colindale Office Entry procedures can be found here.

Kindness December

The festive season is frantic for many of us, but Kindness December is here is remind us all that helping others or joining in with social interaction with your colleagues is the best gift of all. Yammer will be updated on a regular basis with news of events on offer to all Barnet council staff and partners. This week's list of events is below.


Kindness December

Be Active

  • Be kind to yourself…Throughout December: sign up a free four-week fitness programme, starting on Tuesday 5 January, being offered by No1 Fitness Education Academy (Based at North London Business Park). Once a week you will get virtual sessions with a personal trainer, which aim to tackle mental health as well as upping your physical fitness. As well as these sessions, there will be some webinars offering nutritional advice. Panny is keen to get a group of staff from Barnet, so we can all encourage each other in the group sessions. Please contact 07464 792 839 or email and Panny will get you booked in and joining links will be sent to you.


  • Remember Tais Body Conditioning/Yoga/general fitness from Workplace Wellbeing month? There are a variety of classes on offer this week * please follow this link to find out more *there is a charge for these classes


  • Don't forget the popular yoga class every Wednesday with our Head of Mental Health, Karen Morrell. Join Yoga with Karen using this link.


  • There's still time to get a flu jab - please email for more information regarding the Lloyds Flu voucher on offer for Barnet staff.


Take Notice


  • Sparked by tragic events in America, the conversation around race in the UK has become significant in the workplace. This has bought up a lot of repressed feelings/thoughts for staff about racial experiences/discrimination they may have suffered or want to understand more about. This is why Barnet Council has commissioned Nafsiyat, an organisation established in 1983 to ensure that the diverse religious, cultural and ethnic communities in London could access culturally appropriate psychotherapy and counselling services. It was the first therapy centre in the country to take account of the cultural background of the patient and therapist and recognise its importance. So we are introducing, from this week, a series of ‘reflective sessions’. They are open to all staff , regardless of background. The events start this week right up until February 2021. Book via Eventbrite here.



  • Throughout December Festive Brewlette season, join in the with Brewlette draw here
  • 10 December, 10.30-1.00 'Quick fire' coffee break quiz with Nicky Coote Click here to join the meeting
  • 15 December 1pm festive sing-a-long from 1pm with Paul Elphick join via Microsoft Teams here.
  • 17 December Christmas Jumper Day for all - tell First Team what you have planned
  • 17 December 11.00-12.00 Let’s Talk about Mental Health – led by Karen Morrell & Tim
  • 23 December festive sing-a-long from 1pm with Paul Elphick join in here
  • Throughout December festive messages via video for the 12 days of Christmas from CMT



  • 9 December, 12 midday Learn how to manage stress, burnout and anxiety levels via this mental health webinar run by mental health professionals from Able Futures.
  • 10 December, 10am, Meridian Wellbeing Managing Relations webinar – please access here.
  • 11 December 10am – 11am Change Grow Live Barnet and Drink Coach – Alcohol and mental health webinar Click here to join the meeting




Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Learn, Give

Workplace Wellbeing Month 2.0

Remember September and Workplace Wellbeing Month? A lot has happened since then, not least the recent announcement that England would have to go into a new period of national restrictions as of last Thursday (5 November) to suppress the spread of COVID-19.

Although the restrictions are not quite as strict as the first lockdown we had in March, the message is that we must stay at and work from home, where possible. There are exceptions for essential/key workers travelling to and from work, having to leave the house to get essential supplies or take children to school.

However, generally speaking, many of us will once again be confined to our homes – and with the winter season fast approaching as well as a festive season without the events we usually have to look forward to – taking some time to refresh your wellbeing this month should help to combat the winter blues and stop lethargy setting in.

Although the gym bunnies or fitness class lovers among you might be a little frustrated that getting out to the gym is once again not an option, there are plenty of sessions that can be accessed virtually via workplace wellbeing joining links as per below.

During Workplace Wellbeing Month a total of 37 events took place over 31 days from 2 September to 2 October. Apart from two park-based tai chi sessions, all of these were virtual. The most popular events with staff were yoga/fitness and healthy eating cook-a-longs.

Every Wednesday from 5.30pm, Head of Mental Health and Yoga Instructor, Karen Morrell delivers free hour-long yoga sessions which are growing in popularity. Joining link for Karen's Wednesday night Yoga from 5.30pm.

Fitness with Tais

Thursday 12 November, 12.30pm - Body Conditioning - join here

Monday 23 November, 5.45pm - Relaxing Yoga - join here

Brazilian fitness instructor Tais will be helping stretch those muscles with body conditioning that can be done in a small space.

Alcohol Awareness

Thursday 19 November, 11am-12noon - Change, Grow, Live Barnet and Drink Coach/Alcohol Awareness Week, with Public Health colleagues Louisa Songer/Lily Barnett. Join Zoom Meeting: Meeting ID: 955 9124 9659.

Cardio/fitness workout with personal trainer Andy Aransibia ('SIBS' Fitness) - choose from a range of classes for all abilities!

For anyone who tried personal trainer Andy Aransibia’s sessions during Workplace Wellbeing Month, now’s the chance to pick up his fitness routine again. Visit to book any of his classes FOR FREE during the month of November. Once you click on the website, please use the following code to join him on Zoom. Meeting ID: 462 468 8562 Password: SibsFit.

Even if you choose not to join in with the fitness sessions on offer, there are plenty of other options to support your mental health and wellbeing this month – healthy eating cook-a-longs, lunchtime social sessions and the opportunity to join a virtual choir are available.


The Naked Natural Chef Winter Warmer healthy cook-a-longs

Thursday 19 November, 5.30pm - Beta Booster Spicy Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup - book your place here Thursday 26 November, 5.30pm - Healthy Prawn Pasta - book your place here


Sitting all day at the kitchen table or sofa, or working long hours on highly pressured shifts can play havoc with our healthy eating hopes and dreams – this month we will have two sessions with The Naked Natural Chef, who will be making healthy and winter-warming soups and more, that should stop that snacking and keep us away from the biscuit tin.


It's good to talk about Mental Health led by Karen Morrell

19 November 10am-11am - you can join in with the discussion by using the joining link here.


All Sing Together - virtual sing-a-long choir

Thursday 19 November, 1-2pm

Wednesday 25 November, 1-2pm


Quiz time hosted by the Public Health Team

26 November, 12.30-1pm - Quiz joining link


Meditation session to help focus, sleep and anxiety

Monday 30 November, from 5.30pm - meditation session with Robert Mazure.


The schedule will constantly be updated via the Workplace Wellbeing Hub on Yammer; join it here, so you don’t miss out! Don't forget to also check out our suite of mental health and wellbeing resources on our online hub here.


EAP Mental Health app launches

 A new app that can help you with that pursuit of focusing on your mental health. My Healthy Advantage app with our Employee Assistance Programme providers Health Assured. This app can be downloaded to a smartphone or other device by searching for it from the App Store or Google Play Store. When signing up, use the code MHA043260 and you will be taken to the Barnet-specific pages of the app. There, you can track your mood, get advice on a range of issues from financial problems to physical health, access resources like mindfulness videos and helpful tutorials as well as much more. 

Barnet supports World Mental Health Day event on 8 October

October 10 is World Mental Health Day and to coincide with the day, Barnet Council is supporting a Hub Connections webinar on Thursday 8 October. The theme is 'Mental Health for All'.

On the day there will be a range of guest speakers who are working to increase access to mental health services for vulnerable groups in the borough. There will also be some wellbeing activities on offer throughout the session.

Hub Connections returns via Zoom on Thursday 8th October 2020 to coincide with the World Mental Health Day celebrations – the theme this year is ‘Mental Health for all’

The session will run from 10am to 1pm, please make sure you register here and the Zoom link will be sent out a day before the event.

If you experience difficulties registering online please email or call our office on 020 8364 8400.

The past few months of lockdown, social restrictions and other personal issues during the pandemic have had an enormous impact on people's mental health and wellbeing. Take the time to access the Hub Connections webinar or use some of the support available specifically for staff at Barnet.



What's in store for Workplace Wellbeing Month,

Week 4

This week’s Workplace Wellbeing Month ends on a very ‘Zen’ note with a morning yoga class with Phoebe Georgiou and tai chi in Oak Hill Park with Sally Foxcroft tomorrow. So how is Week 4 looking?


It is the final full week of Workplace Wellbeing Month – so now’s the time to join a class and reap the benefits of trying to have a healthier lifestyle as we approach autumn. Details of the activities to look forward to are below - look out for tomorrow's email with joining instructions for each activity.


Monday 21 September, 1pm Stop Smoking Q&A with Nicky Coote – join here.

Final week of the photo competition, Week 4, ‘The Future of Work’

If you have been back to the Colindale office or have some interesting photos of working while social distancing – post them to the Workplace Wellbeing Group here on Yammer.

In a special twist, we have decided to keep the suspense of announcing the winners of the Workplace Wellbeing photo challenge until the Our Stars Virtual Awards Ceremony - winners for each category will be revealed on the night.


Tuesday 22 September, from 2pm

BOOST webinar on support with drug and alcohol support: the stresses of the pandemic have led to many people increasing their intake of drugs and alcohol. BOOST is running a session on how young people aged 16-24 years can get help and support with any issues they are having.


Wednesday 23 September, from 5.30pm

Wednesday night yoga: Karen Morrell’s relaxing yoga class is a wonderful way to tackle the mid-week blues. You can join it here.


Thursday 24 September from 1pm Tai chi in Oak Hill Park: this traditional Chinese martial art combines deep breathing and relaxation that can help with weight loss, sleeping and general wellbeing when done on a regular basis. Sally Foxcroft, an experienced tai chi instructor, will be doing an outdoor session in Oak Hill Park, East Barnet. Look out for joining instructions coming soon!


Thursday 24 September, from 5.30pm

Join Natural Chef Sheila Tompkins for the second of our cook-a-longs to learn how to make a healthy chicken curry from scratch. Sign up to join here. We will share ingredients and further joining details with all attendees in the next few days.


Friday 25 September, from 5.30pm

End the week on a high energy note and join the Our Parks bootcamp – yes it’s for a wide range of abilities, but prepare to work hard and sweat! Join in with the session here.

Workplace Wellbeing Month - Week 1 - how to join

September is here! This can only mean only one thing… that Workplace Wellbeing Month has arrived at Barnet. 

The difference this year is that (almost) all the activities and events taking place will be virtual online sessions, to enable as many of you as possible to take part while working remotely.

Earlier in the summer we asked you about your views on your physical and mental health during lockdown and also asked what kind of activities you would like to see taking place during a virtual Workplace Wellbeing Month. We listened to your views and have tried to incorporate as many of your ideas as possible.

We are pleased to be able to reveal the full schedule for Workplace Wellbeing Month today – access it here. Look out tomorrow for an email with full booking details for all events and how to access the range of online sessions available. All events are being themed under the Five Ways to Wellbeing – Be Active; Take Notice; Give; Connect; and Learn.

Among the activities that we have in store for you are a series of fitness sessions at a range of times to suit you – run by Our Parks and personal trainer Andy Aransibia; fun cook-a-longs with the Detox Barn and Natural Chef Sheila Tompkins; Q&A sessions with our Mental Health First Aiders and the Stop Smoking Team; tai chi, yoga and meditation sessions; and online hanging basket making sessions, to name but a few.

We are also running some team and individual challenges, with a one-week pedometer step challenge; a seated dance challenge and a quiz hosted by our colleagues in Public Health.

Mike Koumi, Head of Safety, Health and Wellbeing (SHaW), said: “Our Workplace Wellbeing Group is well aware of the difficulties everybody has faced this year and the potential impacts that has had on people’s mental and physical health. We wanted to offer some fun and light-hearted activities that will enable you to step away from your screen and engage in one or more of the five ways to wellbeing.

“Look out tomorrow for how to book onto your favourite sessions, and try to get involved with your team mates, friends and colleagues throughout Workplace Wellbeing Month.”

More information can be found on the dedicated Yammer group for Workplace Wellbeing Month here, and remember to look out for tomorrow’s email with full booking details for each session.     

Don't delay your appointment! Cervical Screening Awareness Week

Jo’s Trust is the UK’s leading cancer charity and one of its main aims is to increase the amount of women who take up their invitations to attend a cervical screening appointment. With low cervical screening attendance already a concern before COVID-19, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is using Cervical Screening Awareness Week to address new challenges to attendance as a result of the virus.

Cervical Screening Awareness Week

New research has found that delayed and cancelled cervical screening appointments have left many women feeling worried (39%). Yet, while 40% would feel relieved to be able to go, as screening programmes across the UK are looking to recover, around one in eight women (12%) say they feel less likely to attend than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar numbers (13%) think it is best to put off going for cervical screening at the moment.

We're supporting the Jo’s Trust campaign to encourage women to take up their cervical screening appointments. If you had an invitation to a cervical screening, or may have been due an appointment don’t delay it any further by putting it off.

COVID-19 Bereavement counselling services launches

Very sad fact: the pandemic has cost a lot of lives, which means so many colleagues, residents and clients will be affected by the loss of a loved one.

Director of Public Health and Prevention, Tamara Djuretic, says: ‘’The impact of Covid 19 has affected our all lives, and sadly, some Barnet residents and key staff have suffered loss of family, or friends, at a time when we have been isolated from our usual support.

"As Barnet Council, we worked with our partners Mind in Barnet and Community Barnet and launched the Covid 19 Bereavement Support and Counselling service to address this.

"The Service can offer immediate emotional support and counselling as well as practical and financial support that residents may seek whilst they are in bereavement. Barnet and struggling with bereavement can access this service.

"The service aims to offer swift response and to help anyone who lives, works or studies in Barnet at this difficult time.’’

The service will be delivered through Community Barnet and Mind in Barnet. People will be able to access social and practical support and information as well as accessing immediate emotional support and bereavement counselling.

As well as general counselling, the COVID-19 Bereavement Service can advise people about how to access funeral services and financial support. Residents will be able to refer themselves and leave messages seven days a week.

The service is open Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm.

Call: 020 8016 0016


Any carers out there?

Carers have started to get more recognition due to the huge contribution they have made looking after people during the pandemic. Barnet Council has been supporting the Proud to Care campaign to recruit more carers in Barnet as there is a growing demand. However, there are hundreds of carers in Barnet whose diligent care of people in need goes unknown – unpaid carers.

Barnet Carers Week

During Carers Week we would like to shine a light on the work of carers who are unpaid, yet carrying out the vital role of looking after a loved one, family member or friend.

Are you a carer? A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or other personal issues cannot cope without their support. Young carers are particularly vulnerable, as they are often juggling caring with school work.

But what happens when unpaid carers themselves need support? The Barnet Carers Centre offers support and advice to unpaid carers.

This week, the Barnet Carers Centre has a whole programme of events designed to help carers with their mental health and wellbeing – as well highlighting support services they can help you with.

Live Q&A this Thursday!

It's good to talk - if you are an unpaid carer you are not alone. There's the opportunity to talk to the Barnet Carers Centre directly about issues you may have wanted to raise for a while.

If you are a carer, work in the care field or have a connection with someone who is a carer, please join in with the Live Q&A with Chief Executive of The Barnet Carers Centre, Mike Rich, on Thursday 11th June from 1-2pm. (Via Microsoft Teams +44 20 3321 5256 United Kingdom, London (Toll)

Conference ID: 362 212 941#)

Follow the link below for more Carers Week information or the full programme is listed for ease, below. Please contact Barnet Carers Centre via their website to register interest in any of the events listed below.

Please take the time to read through the attached quotes - they are the thoughts of real-life (unpaid) carers all across Barnet!


Carers Week programme:


Monday 8th June

Mental Health Monday

Mental Health – In it Together Group 6pm-8pm Mindfulness for carers (afternoon)


Tuesday 9th June

The Tuesday Workout

Adult Carers Yoga (afternoon)

Boxing with John 6pm


Wednesday 10th June

#inittogether Wednesday

Coffee and Chat for Carers (11am)

So you say you can’t draw? Simple cartooning workshop (3pm) + competition Barnet Carers Quiz (7pm)


Thursday 11th June


Singing workshops morning and afternoon

Friday 12th June

The Friday slowdown

Coffee and Chat for Carers (11am)

Keep calm and yoga (3pm)

Supporting Mental Health Awareness Week

Kindness Week Day five #thoughtsforfriday

"The epidemic has give a lot of us the opportunity to be kind in one way or another," Mavis Osei Agyapong

Kindness week has all been about raising awareness of mental health in the workplace.

Mavis Osei Agyapong from Family Services shared her #ThoughtsforFriday via a video on Yammer:

Mavis Osei Agyapong

A Mental Health and Wellbeing section has been created in Yammer, so if you do have any resources to share you think would be useful or want to get a conversation going, please post it there - don't be shy!

Thanks to the Mental Health First Aiders for hosting their first live Q&A - it was a really great start and hopefully more of you will feel comfortable raising mental health issues and ways we can be kind to each other.

If you fancy a chat and a catch-up we already have Brewlette, so for those of you who have yet to arrange a virtual catch up with the colleague you have been paired with for May - there's still time. Then we will be doing the Brewlette draw for June - so if you would like to join in time for that one, let us know in the comments box below or email


Over to you now.

Kindness Week, Day Four: Be kind together = good team work

Kindness Week Day Four


‘We are not a team because we work together, we are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other’

Part of being in a great team is being able to share workloads, collaborate on projects and find solutions. There might be good days and not so good days though. On the not so good days, you can always direct colleagues to all the free resources available to help with stress and other mental health issues.

Just follow Barnet's Mental Health and Wellbeing Yammer page, which is regularly updated with resources and mental health awareness news

You can end Kindness Week on the best possible note on behalf of your teams by sharing those positive thoughts and news stories using the hashtag #thoughtsforfriday or post to


Bereavement support and training

Bereavement is the toughest aspect of the crisis and we want colleagues who go through the devastating impact of a loss at this time (or any other), to know they will be supported with compassion and understanding.

Bereavement support for staff


Please access bereavement training and resources available by clicking on the attachments below.

LBB Public Health have commissioned Cruse Bereavement Care<> to deliver online loss and bereavement training to support frontline staff facing unprecedented loss of life often under very difficult circumstances. All deaths during this period (COVID related or not) are likely to be traumatic, with limitations on contact with family, remote contact with services and changed funeral practices.

For more information email

Bereavement support for staff:



Kindness Week, Day Three, Be Kind to Others

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart

There are approximately 100 Mental Health First Aiders who are trained to help give advice, and be a listening ear to colleagues who need it.

In today's First Team, please look out for an interview with some of our Mental Health First Aiders, who share why they decided to take on the role of helping colleagues in need of support.

In the meantime, click on the video clip via Yammer to hear from one of our MHFAs, Kirsty Dutton, about why mental health at work is so important.

If you would like to ask/talk to a Mental Health First Aider about general issues, please email to join with the Mental Health First Aiders live Q&A (via Skype) on Thursday 21st May from 1-2pm.


Let's be kind at work:

  • Remember to say hi to colleagues and ask how they are
  • Offer to make a drink for your colleagues
  • Get to know a new member of staff
  • Lend your ear - listen to your colleague who is having a bad day
  • Say thank you to a colleague who has helped you
  • Praise a colleague for something they have done well


Exercise your kindness muscle!

Being nice isn't 'soppy' it actually has a clear benefit to the recipient and makes us feel good about ourselves, too! It's a win win.


A psychologist shares 21 ways to exercise your kindness muscle. It doesn't have to be complicated, it can be as simple as posting a nice sentiment on a friend or colleague's Facebook page. We all know how social media has played a part in having a negative impact on people's mental health.

Kindness Week day two, Be Kind to Yourself

Kindness Week Day two

‘To Love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance’ Oscar Wilde

Perhaps you are just beginning to find out more about mental health and how taking steps to improve it can make a huge difference. Or perhaps you already know all about self-care, but busy workloads and other pressures prevent you from taking any time for yourself.

Either way, taking just 5 minutes a day to do something for yourself can have an enormous positive impact on your mental health. Some ideas on things you can do were part of our previous Take 5 campaign, which you can view here.

Take 5 minutes every day to:

  • Reflect on how you are feeling and focus on the things you do take make you feel better.
  • Contact five people this week, preferably family members or friends that always make you feel better about yourself. Especially if they haven't heard from you in a while - they will be happy to hear from you!
  • List five activities you enjoy doing and do one per day.
  • Take a five-minute pause from sitting at your desk or kitchen table and contact your colleague for a Brewlette catch-up.
  • Exercise is good for your health – why not start with 5 minutes of yoga everyday to help with your breathing and focus.

Please keep checking Yammer this week to access a Yoga class with Head of Mental Health, Karen Morrell, who is also a trained Yoga instructor. You save the clip on your phone or device and spend 5-10 minutes practice 3 times a week – you’ll be surprised how quickly makes a difference. Forward on to the colleagues on your WhatsApp group who aren't already on Yammer.

Mental health resources for you:


Don't forget to have your #thoughtsforFriday ready, post them on Barnet's Yammer Community or email to share some positive milestones your team has achieved, or just to say something nice about a colleague.


Kindness Week day one


Kindness Week at Barnet


Day one: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” ~Jennifer Dukes Lee

It's Mental Health Awareness Week from 18-24 May and we are using it as an opportunity to encourage us all to be kind to each other and access mental health resources available if you need to.

At the moment many of us are working from different locations, in deployed roles and for office-based staff often working in isolation – the idea of Kindness Week in Barnet is to remind everybody that they are not alone.

Bookmark free mental health resources

There is a wide range of mental health awareness people can access that cover all kinds of matters confidentially, financial issues, mindfulness and confidence-building.

Save these resources in your ‘favourites’ so they are easy to find should you need to access them.


Connecting with colleagues outside your team

Sometimes we need a little bit of social interaction – so now’s the perfect opportunity to sign up to Brewelettes, where every month its members are entered into a ‘draw’ and matched up with a colleague to have a catch-up with. At the moment it’s virtual. We would like to hear from any of the draws in May who might have had an online catch-up to share the benefits of keeping on touch.

Sign up to Brewlettes June here.

So how's Kindness Week shaping up for the rest of the week?


  • Day Two, Be Kind to Yourself. Yoga class link with Karen Morrell will be shared online and relaxation guides.
  • Day Three, Be Kind to Others, meet some Mental Health First Aiders, exercise your kind muscles and take 15 minutes
  • Day Four, sign up to live Q&A with the Mental Health First Aiders, training opportunities
  • Day Five, share your #thoughtsforfriday, news about the wellbeing action plan and the staff survey on wellbeing. Plus local services available


#ThoughtsforFriday – many teams are having regular catch-ups using WhatsApp or Microsoft Teams. We are asking you to share positive milestones or examples of amazing things your colleagues have done every Friday with the #ThoughtsforFriday of if you would prefer, email with your examples. During your catch-ups please talk about Kindness Week especially with colleagues who aren’t office-based do not usually connect online.

Mental Health First Aiders new support rota

Our Mental Health First Aiders are operating on a rota-basis to support any staff who need support and guidance with mental health issues during this time.

MHFA support rota can be viewed here

Looking after your health and wellbeing

At a time of unprecedented restrictions on our daily life, it is vitally important that we look after our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Public Health England has (PHE) recognised that the challenges that COVID-19 is bringing, alongside many people having to work (and in some cases, live,) in isolation is having an impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

PHE advice:

  • Maintain contact with friends and family via telephone and video calls, or social media;
  • Keep a regular routine and sleeping pattern; and
  • Focus on a hobby or learning something new.

In this section you will find links to free, online, resources that have experts and guidelines to support you with keeping a healthy outlook during this time, which will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Looking after your health and wellbeing: how are you today?

There’s no doubt recent events have been very challenging for staff. With a significant number of us either working from home or taking on extra responsibilities or tasks, we want to remind you all that there are outlets that can support you with your mental health and wellbeing.

We have almost 100 mental health first aiders and 30 of them have volunteered to directly support staff during these unprecedented times. This group of trained staff is available to listen to any challenges you might be facing, and direct you to further support. Click here to see the list of volunteer mental health first-aiders.

Good Thinking

The council supports Good Thinking, which is a free online resource that provides users with access to resources that can help with a wide range of mental health related issues, from stress to sleep deprivation.

Every Mind Matters 

This is Public Health England's official mental health support website, supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have long been advocates for mental health, through their respective patronages and The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign.

  • Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice to start taking better care of your mental health. If you are still struggling after several weeks and it is affecting your daily life, please contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.


Keeping active

Sport England also has tips for keeping active at home.

NHS mental health and wellbeing advice

NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools, if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood.

If you already have a mental health problem, you can access comprehensive guidance provided by Mind.


The government’s strict rules on ensuring people stay indoors means many staff are working from home, often in lengthy isolation. Log onto Barnet’s Yammer feed  to connect with colleagues and to share stories of what it has been like self-isolating, working from home for lengthy periods and generally catching up with colleagues - just like you would in the office!

More tips on managing your mental health and wellbeing, while working from home

  • Different ways of staying connected
  • IT service desk
  • Virtual meetings
  • Taking care of your laptop
  • Security