Mental wellbeing and personality, our footprint and shadow

Mental Health and Personality are two very distinct parts of an individual's make up between which the lines of perception can often get blurred. Here at Symbiotics we understand the difference between these and the importance they play in the day-to-day life of each and every one of us.

Personality is something that has encouraged many theories and studies across the years, the word itself stemming from the Latin persona meaning the mask worn by performers in the theatre to play different roles or disguise themselves. What most definitions of personality focus on though are the patterns of innate characteristics from which a person's preferences are defined and explained, something which remains consistent throughout an individual's lifetime. Simply, our personality influences how we react in certain situations and this is unlikely to change; it is our psychological footprint, remaining the same across all surfaces and situations.

Mental health can be seen as the fluctuating shadow to the stable footprint. This is something that can change across time, affected by a range of factors that can be different for us all. Covering our emotional, psychological and social well-being, mental health affects how we think, feel and act as well as determining specific stress responses, relationships and decision making both in and out of the workplace.

Both our footprints and our shadow are important parts of an individual, with our personality and mental wellbeing affecting how we interact with peers as well as our approach to different situations. Symbiotics understand the difference of both of these factors as well as the impact that they each have on our conduct and we offer a range of tools to assess and identify support needs for both, with the support of our in-house team of psychologists.

Symbiotics are proud to boast a personality questionnaire that meets the stringent requirements of the governing bodies of high-risk industries such as aviation. For airline pilots, suitability and resilience are factors that it is vital to assess before recruitment, as those with personalities prone to, for example, risk taking behaviours are unlikely to be suited to an environment with such heavy consequences in the event of error.

As part of the ADAPT suite of tools, Symbiotics offer a personality questionnaire based on the Big Five factors of personality (extraversion, agreeableness, openness, neuroticism and conscientiousness). This is combined with the FAA's approved Hazardous Attitudes scale and produces unique profiles for each individual to indicate capacity for learning and predicted reactions under pressure. This is supported by a number of other constructs in our assessment process including measures of resilience, stress management and anxiety.

Personality is obviously just part of the picture and whereas an initial personality questionnaire will provide the mental footprint of a person, how they are likely to approach and react to situations based on their innate footprint, we can't forget the shadow. Mental Health, or mental wellbeing as we prefer to approach it, fluctuates throughout life and is something that should be looked at regularly across all individuals in all industries, because it is something that affects us all. Symbiotics are delighted to be working alongside MHS Assessments in our use of MindQ™, the clinically validated risk assessment tool. This allows for the identification of people who are at risk of mental health conditions and allows them to be directed to the appropriate resources and support needed to improve their mental wellbeing.

Symbiotics work with a variety of clients across industries that include aviation and the police to provide the insight into both personality and mental health that can be used to support all involved. By aiding informed selection, we allow companies to ensure they have the right people in the right positions as well as highlighting mental wellbeing issues within a team. This can have a substantial impact in reducing absenteeism and presenteeism as well as increasing productivity and staff retention, whilst helping to ensure that those put into high-pressure roles and scenarios are the best-suited to deal with these.

To find out more about how Symbiotics can help you, get in touch with the team on +44 (0)1905 368175 or email contact@symbioticsltd.co.uk.