Andy Day and Del

Breathe Out – Volume 3

Andy Day and Del

1 – Tell us a little about who you are, who you work for and what you do?

I’m Andy Day, I work for Apam, I’m the Senior Asset Manager in the North and I’m based in the Manchester Office.

2 – How long have you been in your industry?

I’ve been in this industry now since 2009 so 14 years in total which has been a very interesting 14 years, including a credit crisis in 2009, a global pandemic, a war and now another recession. Now hoping for more stability in the next 14 years!

3 – What makes the business you represent unique in relation to mental health?

One of the things that Apam do well is talk to their staff and employees and mental health comes into that. A thing that attracted me to Apam was the way they put the emphasis on their employees. They promote collaboration a lot and that is great for both offices in London and Manchester. They encourage you to collaborate with your co-workers and that can really help your mental health. We’ve learned from this pandemic that being remote and alone can impact you negatively so to work for an organisation that promotes collaboration and working together is great. You’ve people from different backgrounds and different ages all coming together. They also promote non-negotiable invites throughout the year encouraging staff to talk to each other, things like ‘tea and talk’. I think with mental health it can sometimes be a lack of time, either yourself or your colleagues and Apam proactively gives you back that time to talk. The senior management team talk a-lot about how actions can impact on other people. Not necessarily negatively but positively and that can have a great positive impact on a person’s wellbeing.

4 – Tell us something most people won’t know about you.

What many people won’t know about me is that I was at Wigan Athletic until the age of 16 at schoolboy level. I represented Wigan Town, which is the whole borough, playing against other Boroughs including Salford Boys, who Ryan Giggs and the Neville brothers played for. After that, and not quite making it due to injury, I then went on to play semi-professionally for 10 years. I have some great memories in football including playing in the same team as Leighton Baines for 5 years, which was incredible. At 22, when I was at university, we played against a team called Garforth Town and I played against an ageing Lee Sharpe. He got the better of me that day and I was a bit disappointed with my performance but after the game he came over to me in the bar, bought me a beer and told me I played well which was a mark of the man

5 – As part of the #BreatheOut initiative, which highlights the positive impact of talking to someone, especially if you are struggling, and also being active. How important are these two factors of combatting mental ill-health to you?

It’s huge! From a personal point of view, I struggle when I don’t exercise and it took me a while to realise the link between the two. I went through a period of not sleeping, I did all the usual things like having a note pad at the side of the bed to try to help me close things down, anything to try and help me sleep. It took me a long time to realise I was just mentally tired (from working and being at my desk all day) but not physically tired. Especially considering my background, doing a lot of exercise is what my body was used to. I then would go on a long walk or play badminton or squash and almost immediately I was able to sleep well again. I therefore think it hugely important to have some form of exercise or activity to help you switch off, rest well and recover. It’s important you find time and focus on yourself. So that was a little bit of a journey for me but I’m pleased to say I’ve got the right balance now. I can definitely feel stress building if I’ve not done enough or any exercise so now and again, even if it’s late at night I might visit my 24 hour gym just to get a quick session in as I know the benefits.

In relation to opening up and talking, I think it’s huge – communication in general is such a key tool in everything, not just in business but everyday life. That’s why I think so many of us struggled during the pandemic with less talking, less collaboration, less face to face and more teams or zoom meetings. I’m a big believer in having face to face meetings, I think that little bit you get before and after any meeting is critical and you don’t get that on video meetings. So I think talking and opening up is hugely important. On a personal note, I’m so lucky, not just professionally but also personally. I’ve been with my wife (Laura) since I was 15, my childhood sweetheart, she’s my best friend and partner in life and she can tell the minute I walk through the door if there’s a problem. I think you’ve got to talk, if you’ve got a problem but I’m really lucky because at home my wife knows me that well that she can spot it and then drags it out of me and sometimes you don’t even need advice it’s just about getting something off your chest.

6 – Have you ever personally struggled with your own mental health. If so how did you or do you deal with it?

There’s not been any sort of real big moments for me, just little bits and with the support network that I have both personally and professionally they listen and understand the challenges. Nothing comes to mind but there’s definitely been times where work has been so relentless, you can’t see the end, you may have a holiday approaching but you’re thinking, I can’t possibly go on holiday for fear of falling behind.

7 – In business there is a stigma attached to people will mental health issues. Why do you think that is?

Personally, I believe it’s a generational thing and that’s it’s seen as a weakness. For me it’s purely driven by a lack of understanding and education. I think it’s changed dramatically, we evolve as a generation going into senior management and have a different thought process. I know this may be a daft example but no one wears a suit anymore yet the generation before wore a suit every day. It shows the evolution of us as senior managers and people in the workplace in general. We’re a more empathetic society which when talking about such an important topic helps. We’ve still got the same pressures the same targets and deadlines but manage people and situations differently. Things like what we’re doing right now and the things we do as a business at APAM can only help improve things. It shows how far we’ve come, if we’d have said to people 10 years ago about this #BreatheOut initiative or maybe giving everyone some free time on a Wednesday to talk about their mental health people wouldn’t understand us and it just shows how far we’ve come.

8 – What tips or guidance could you offer other people who are maybe struggling with their own mental health.

Open up and talk, communication is everything and it will always help the situation. If you can’t open up and you feel you need to try and resolve the situation yourself, be proactive and formulate solutions to ensure changes that are made do resolve the problem. Most senior management want to help, but by giving them a clear plan on how to directly alleviate your problems helps both parties. I never knew not exercising affected me so negatively and now I open up regularly to my wife (whether I like it or not!) and try to exercise when I can through the week and those two things always work for me.

Date Completed – 24/01/2023

Participants – Andrew Day and Delroy McGee

Location –  Sankey Brooke, Warrington

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Andy and Del 2