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Mental Health within Digital Forensics

Mental Health within Digital Forensics

CYFOR’s Operations Manager Antony Fry recently sat down with Advocacy Focus to discuss the importance of mental health within digital forensics.

Tell us a bit about CYFOR – what do you do, where are you based, how many people do you employ?

Based in Manchester and employing approximately fifty-five staff, CYFOR is a leading provider in Digital Forensics, specialising in criminal defence investigations and corporate forensics, with dedicated expertise in eDiscovery and Cyber Security. With 20 years of proven digital forensic capabilities that include mobile phone forensics, computer forensics, and cell site analysis, we are instructed by law firms and organisations directly on a vast range of investigations. Our ISO17025 accredited digital forensics laboratory provides our clients with the assurance of technical competence, impartiality, and the generation of valid results in line with the highest standards as required by the Criminal Justice System. We are accredited to the Forensic Science Regulator’s Codes of Practice and Conduct to ensure our personnel actions are in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Forensic Practitioners. Adhering to legal aid rates, we have the expertise to recover, analyse, and report digital evidence with detailed reporting that is admissible as evidence in all classes of court.

What led you to look into mental health training?

Society is facing a mental health crisis and as a business, we are working hard to challenge the status quo, misconceptions and associated stigma attached to mental illness. At CYFOR, the mental health of our employees is extremely important to us, and we wanted to raise awareness as well as build a positive ethos of support and understanding. Being proactive and investing in mental health training is critical to helping our staff not only support their only mental health but to recognise and help someone who is experiencing mental ill health.

Why did you choose Advocacy Focus?

When we were exploring opportunities to work with a mental health advocacy service, we wanted a pioneer in the industry with a recognised quality in independent advocacy. It was also vitally important for us to build a relationship with like-minded individuals who value people and put them first. Right from the start, it was clear that Advocacy Focus could provide high-quality support, training, and service delivery, led by experienced, competent, and enthusiastic practitioners.

What are some of the mental health and well-being initiatives you already had in place before the session?

CYFOR has continuously endeavoured to promote staff mental health and prior to our engagement with Advocacy Focus we had implemented a number of well-being initiatives and strategies to assist our employees in developing supportive relationships with their colleagues. At CYFOR we have introduced well-being based employee benefits which include an employee assistance programme that provides free, confidential support services and access to expert information, advice and emotional support when needed. We also promote healthy eating by having healthy snacks in the workplace and encourage exercise and regular social events to boost staff health, teamwork, and mental well-being. Pets are also welcomed within the office as we find that they elevate mood and promote team bonding.

What are some of the changes you have observed in your staff who attended the session?

It was vital for us that our staff understood the factors that affect mental health, and that they were aware of the advice and support available for those at work who have experienced mental illness. Employees are now familiar with the internal resources that are available to them to encourage open conversation i.e., the Employee Assistance Programme and that there are a number of specialist organisations that can provide guidance and support.

What are some of the changes you have made at an organisational level after the session?

Good mental health at work and good management go hand in hand. Several changes have been made across the business to disseminate our mental health learning through designated well-being leaders. Training for line managers has been rolled out which covers how they can each promote mental health and well-being and be aware of the signs and symptoms of poor mental health. We also use scheduled work meetings, appraisals and/or informal chats about progress to find out more about any problems an employee may be having.

Are there any other changes/initiatives that you are in the process of putting in place? 

We are actively encouraging more individuals from across the business to undertake the mental health first aider training so watch this space!

What would you say to another business in your sector to encourage them to invest in mental health and wellbeing initiatives in their workplace?

Supporting mental health in the workplace is a necessity and employers should be creating positive options to support their employee’s mental health. Work-related risk factors can negatively affect mental health so it is critical that business leaders are alive to the increasing internal and external pressures which are placed on their staff. With consideration, empathy and positive action, businesses can offer the best preventative and responsive mental health support for their employees.

Would you recommend Advocacy Focus to others looking for help with their workplace mental health and well-being initiatives?

Most certainly. Advocacy Focus has above all helped the business to develop our skills and knowledge to have open and honest mental health conversations with our staff. Mental health is a complex subject matter which requires a sensitive approach however staff now feel more comfortable in identifying, comprehending, and supporting a colleague who may be experiencing mental health challenges.

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