Work Culture

1% of Estonians to be mental health first aid trained – a mission that every company should take on?

Mental health topics have taken a big step forward over the last decade, but there is still a lot of work to be done, to have a better understanding of how to support yourself, and when and how to support others, especially in our work cultures, where stress can be an everyday factor. 

The tasks of NGO Peaasjad (eng Head Matters) include the promotion of young people’s mental health, the prevention of problems, early intervention, and the reduction of stigmatisation in our society.

I recently completed the Mental health first aid course organised by NGO Peaasjad which was supported by the Ministry of Social Affairs. NGO Peaasjad has made it their mission to get 1% of Estonians trained on mental health first aid. That would mean that 13,000 people in Estonia would have to pass the course. Currently, the number stands at 4,528, I am now one of them. 

Where should the mental health conversation start? 

As with most things in the company, it should start from the top, not only is it a great influence and creates a better work environment and understanding. But looking at the statistics, that’s where mental health tools might be needed the most. As a founder, you are 50% more susceptible to having a mental health issue and twice as likely to suffer from depression. To those lucky ones who don’t develop major mental health issues, there’s still a chance of high stress and that developing into burnout. The numbers are staggering, but it is all preventable, with everyday actions and choices.

Do you know what are the signs that your mental health balance is not great? Is it bad sleep, being more closed off, and unmotivated, or do your eating habits change? For all of us, the signs can be different, that is why knowing yourself and taking action is so important.

Different sides to stress

All of this is not to say that we should never experience stress and should always be positive and smiling. That is not the case. Stress has gotten a bad name, but actually, as with many things, there are two sides to the coin. Stress helps you meet your daily challenges and motivates you to reach your goals, ultimately making you a smarter, happier, and healthier person. That’s right. Good stress is vital for a healthy life. You may think any type of stress is bad, but that isn’t the case. Good stress is short-term, stress becomes a problem when it’s in our lives for the long term. That’s where it can develop into burnout.

Burnout is an unbiased epidemic, inflicting young and old, experienced and first-timers, rich and poor alike — it doesn’t care about your background, your skillset, or how successful you’ve been. The pressure can get to anyone and those of us who lack the tools to manage it can find ourselves in a dark place quickly. – Joe Procopio CPO @Get Spiffy

Stages of stress and burnout:

  1. Normal stress: you feel pressure on a specific moment/deadline but only for a few minutes and the body recovers 
  2. Hyper stress: you experience very intense periods of stress associated with severe symptoms
  3. Burnout: once you reach this zone, the recovery is a long and hard process

Work culture and mental health 

It is legally necessary for a workplace to have a trained first aider at work, depending on the size of the company. That is to make sure that if someone physically hurts themselves there is immediate help. So why not have a mental health first aider? Someone who can be there for help if anyone needs it and asks for it. But also someone who knows what to notice and knows when to ask and when to have a conversation. End of the day you would want your employees in the best health possible, but that should also include mental health and emotional wellbeing.  

Introducing mental health first aider at work helps raise awareness and create a healthy work environment, where talking about mental health is not stigmatised. And although mental health should not be about business, then a happy, healthy employee or founder is a lot more productive and innovative than an unhealthy one. The statistics from the UK is showing us that the number one cause of sickness absence is mental health. In conclusion, there are plenty of reasons to get on board. 

Mental health first aid course

The course is 3-days either in person or over Zoom, and it involves a lot of great discussions with the other participants. Mental health and emotional well-being is something that is a very important topic for me personally but also as the Mental health ambassador and now the mental health first aider at Ecartic. Going through that course gave me great tools to use in everyday life and at work. I think it is important to be able to have conversations about mental health, especially after the experience of the last couple of years with the pandemic and the state of Europe now. The main takeaway for me was that anyone can make themselves feel better. It is only a matter of finding the right tools for the job!

So are you ready to become part of the 1%? 

The course is available in Estonian, English, and Russian, so if it has sparked your interest, be sure to contact them. There’s also an option to invite them to your office to give a seminar or talk on different mental health topics to your team.

NGO Peaasjad (Head Matters, in English) was established in 2009 by mental health specialists working for the Psychiatry Clinic of North Estonia Medical Centre and the team now consists of qualified mental health specialists, youth workers, ICT specialists, etc.

Eloora Rannala
Work Culture Manager

1000 302 Ecartic

Ecartic the official new member of the Estonian Diversity Charter

This Wednesday, Ecartic along with 23 other companies officially joined the Diversity Charter led by the Estonian Human Rights Organization. Together with the new members, the Estonian Diversity Agreement Network includes 172 employers who are brought together by a common interest in the success achieved through a work culture that respects differences and diverse experiences.

What is the Diversity agreement?

A Diversity agreement is a voluntary agreement by which a company, non-governmental organization, or public sector organization affirms that it respects the diversity of people and values the principle of equal treatment among its employees, customers, and partners. All the organizations in the various fields of activity that have joined the Diversity agreement form a network to share their diversity management experiences and promote equal treatment in society.

The Diversity Agreement was launched in Estonia in 2012, and similar diversity networks operate in 26 European countries. In Estonia, the activities related to the agreement are coordinated by the Estonian Center for Human Rights.

Diversity and Ecartic

Ecartic joining the Diversity Agreement seemed like a natural step. We are an international company, with employees and consultants working from a wide range of countries, thanks to the possibility of remote and hybrid work. Our team consists of 20 amazing humans, representing 6 different nationalities. Diversity also applies to our team’s professional backgrounds, which is necessary if you think about our company’s structure – different ideas and perspectives are essential to make it work.  Also, our ventures represent the curiosity and diversity of Ecartic, it runs in the DNA of our company.

Our values and what brought us to become part of the Diversity Charter

As mentioned, diversity is part of Ecartic, but diversity is also a lot more complex than we sometimes realize, ranging from small to big differences we could make, but all of them matter.

It is important to grow, learn and improve. All these qualities are represented in our values:

We are growing 

It is our core value, and how better to grow than by being surrounded by other like-minded people and companies. 

We are curious 

Always keen on learning new things and looking for ways to put more value in everything we do.

We are responsible 

We are responsible for our actions, but we are also responsible to promote equal treatment in society. 

We believe in great communication

That is only possible if we understand each other and embrace our differences because they will make us stronger. 

The signing of the Diversity Agreement

On Wednesday the Estonian Center for Human Rights organized the official event for welcoming the new members. It was also the record year of new entries, 24 in total. Even the new members were as diverse as they could be, from start-ups to government ministries, to universities, etc. After meeting everyone and hearing their thoughts on why they joined, we are very excited to see what great things we can do together! Our CEO Miko Salo shared some of his thoughts:

 “Being open-minded and curious are guiding principles of our approach at Ecartic. Diversity and inclusion go absolutely hand in hand with this and we are proud champions of these values. We recognise that the Estonian Center for Human Rights is a key driver in facilitating the adoption of this culture in broader society.”

Our CEO Miko Salo singing the Diversity Agreement
Photo: Mari Armei

The timing could not have been better as the European Diversity Month 2022 takes place in May 2022. This year the focus is on ‘Building Bridges’. Excited to celebrate it with our team and to share our experiences and activities with you.

For more information on the Estonian Center for Human Rights and the Diversity Charter click HERE. And a big thank you to all the support from the Estonian Center for Human Rights.

Group photo of the 24 new members of the Diversity Agreement
Photo: Mari Armei

1070 457 Ecartic

Imperial College London students project with blufVPN 🚀

Multiple voices, perspectives, and personalities bouncing off one another can give a lot of out-of-the-box ideas – and that is exactly what happened in eCartic office at the end of February!

60 MSc Students came to Tallinn as a part of the International Consulting project module, 5 of them were mentored by blufVPN team professionals.  

At the beginning of December, we got a pitch to be part of a business consulting project with Imperial College London on their International Consulting Project module. Where the MSc students work with a client to deliver an impactful business consulting project. The idea behind it was to send 60 MSc to Tallinn for a week and work with a local company. How could we say no? Firstly, an opportunity to work with young professionals from international backgrounds – imagine all the learning and innovative ideas! Secondly, an opportunity to support and mentor the students with our diverse knowledge. We, of course, said yes and we got to meet the five brilliant students – Hongyu (Kyle) Chen, Paloma Beer, Apurva Gupta, Emile Junet, and Halvard Ramstad.

The new reality of international projects – a mix of on-site and online teamwork.

With Covid-19 it has been difficult to arrange such projects, but thankfully, with proper preparation from both sides, we made sure the project could go ahead as necessary health and safety measures were taken. As we believe, nothing can compare to the true value of working together in person and bouncing ideas off each other – true brainstorming. But it would not be a 2022 start-up environment without someone joining in through Google Meets or Zoom call. So we made sure the students were well equipped with everything they needed. That included mentorship from our own Chief Analytics Officer, Micha Nyffeler. Mischa’s comments on the week with the students: 

“The week with the students from the Imperial College Business School was very fruitful and mutually beneficial. As a start-up, it gave us a lot of value to 5 students working at the office for 4 days as we created a framework for our Go to Market strategy and crunched tons of data on a large number of markets. 

The students were full of energy and worked very well as a team – there was a clear plan and tasks to divide and conquer and a healthy atmosphere where people could exchange, help, and also challenge each other”.

The result of a week’s work – a framework for an international Go to Market strategy.

Now that we have finished our business consulting journey with Paloma, Halvard, Emile, Apurva, and Kyle, we can honestly say, we can’t wait to do something like this again. Not only was it a pure joy to see the power of brainstorming and how they took on the challenge, but it also brought so much excitement to our team. We have all been at the beginning of our careers and know what it can feel like. Projects like these allow students to network and create valuable connections and gain hands-on experience in the real world. As Mischa mentioned, the amount of knowledge, information, and data they brought to the table is also very valuable to us. We can’t wait to update the students on how their work impacted blufVPN. 

Ecartic promotes diversity and equal opportunities and since 2022 is a part of Estonia’s Diversity Charter.

In 2022, eCartic became part of the Diversity Charter led by the Estonian Human Rights Organization. As part of the charter, we commit to promoting diversity and equal opportunities among our employees, partners, as well as clients. It has always been important to us that everyone feels welcomed at eCartic and we were glad that that is exactly the feedback we got from the students. Feeling welcomed, supported, and included! More to come this year about our work as part of the Diversity Charter.

Let’s work together on exciting projects!

Do you have an exciting project you want to tell us about? Are you a student looking for the perfect place for an internship? Get in contact and let’s see how we could work together! 

2048 1365 Ecartic
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