The National Crime Agency (NCA) leads the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime, protecting the public by targeting and pursuing those criminals who pose the greatest risk to the UK.  

They are a diverse organisation with people hailing from many different cultures and backgrounds and with different skills and experiences. Due to the nature of their work, which can often be covert as well as emotionally challenging, the NCA aims to support and champion its people as much as possible. Not only do they offer all staff a wealth of internal support, they have also been working with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England since 2019 to train staff as Mental Health First Aiders. Since they began offering training, nearly 80 officers across the organisation, and at all seniority levels, have trained as MHFAiders®.

As a result of their work with MHFA England, Georgina Carter, Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager and MHFA England Co-ordinator at the NCA, became aware of My Whole Self and as such, Georgina began to investigate the potential of rolling it out across the NCA.

Due to their size, and the nature of their work, Georgina and her team had to make sure that the campaign aligned with security protocols and guidelines. So, working with a member of the MHFA England team they began to devise a programme of events, bespoke to the NCA, using materials supplied by MHFA England.  

They decided to launch My Whole Self in September 2021 to tie in with National Inclusion Week, rather than March, when My Whole Self Day is celebrated. As Head of Communications, Campaigns and Media at MHFA England, Leonie McIroy, says,

“This perfectly demonstrates how versatile the campaign materials are and how important it is to be able to bring your whole self to work all year round, not just at key campaign moments like My Whole Self Day.” 

My Whole Self was launched internally with information and collateral posted on the staff intranet and a communication from the Deputy Director of the NCA. They also used their network of MHFAiders® with about 50 staff sharing their My Whole Selfies internally, through their teams and wider wellbeing groups.  

But they didn’t just stop there. In January 2022, the Director General, three Deputy Directors and Simon Blake, Chief Executive of MHFA England, chaired a panel event which focused on how people can bring their whole selves to work and how the workplace can support employees from a variety of backgrounds and with a multitude of lived experiences.  

Georgina says,  

“Getting support from senior leadership was important – I am still getting feedback, six months on, about how great it was to see senior staff discussing their wellbeing and mental health. It was also a much more relaxed forum compared to what most of our staff are used to and I think that really helped people open up and share their own lived experiences.”  

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Georgina is keen to make sure that My Whole Self stays relevant to the NCA and as such, any time there is a specific national awareness moment or campaign, she works with her team to make sure staff are aware of My Whole Self and the resources available. She also has plans to work with the Learning and Development team to ensure that My Whole Self conversations and materials are available to all new starters via inductions.

Speaking about the MHFAider® programme and My Whole Self, Georgina concludes;

“My Whole Self is not about sharing things you don’t want to share, or hitting targets. It’s about helping to support our staff, some of whom are subject to upsetting and traumatic events, in the best way possible. If we can understand our employees’ heritage, culture, and life experiences we can be better equipped to offer personalised, holistic care and foster an inclusive, supportive working environment.

“MHFA England have been with us every step of the way, guiding and supporting our version of My Whole Self and it is certainly a campaign that we hope will continue to flourish over the coming years.”  

Learn more about My Whole Self