Member Stories Sanjeev Shetty 17/05/2024

Mental Health Awareness Week: Offering a helping hand

Meet Alex Ward, landlord, NRLA member and a part-time Samaritan. As Mental Health Awareness week draws to a close she talks about her volunteer work - and how important it is for landlords look after themselves to take better care of their tenants.

When she is not managing her five properties, landlord Alex Ward volunteers at Samaritans four hours a day. 

“There are calls you take that I think about very deeply…. When that person is very young or has been through something very traumatic,” said Alex. “But they (the Samaritans) don’t let you leave until you have unwound, or deposited all your worries. They are beyond brilliant.”

Alex began volunteering when she left the sunny surroundings of Spain for her current home in Birmingham. The opportunity to volunteer at the Samaritans came up and it aligned closely with her own values.

Alex says juggling a property portfolio and and her volunteer work is quite straightforward as long as she is not between tenants and Alex believes that looking after her own mental health helps her be a better landlord.

She said the Covid-19 pandemic really brought home the importance of good mental health for both landlords and tenants - and tried to stay positive to support the people living in her properties.

She said: “Whatever we are feeling will be reflected in our tenants. Renting property can be challenging, and I think its really important that landlords are there for each other.

“If you work together, you’ll get the benefit of it and so will the people around you,” she adds.

Where to look for help

Letting homes can be stressful at the best of times, and in a survey carried out shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic, 40% of NRLA landlords said their mental health had been negatively impacted during that time and beyond. The recent cost-of-living crisis has also taken its toll on landlords and tenants.

If you are struggling, support is out there. You can visit the NRLA's mental health page here, to find out more about organisations that can help and support you, including the Samaritans who can be contacted on 116123.

Sanjeev Shetty

Sanjeev Shetty Content and Communications Officer

Sanj is a Content and Communications Officer for the NRLA, writing across the NRLA's communications channels. He has more than 25 years of writing experience, building a diverse portfolio of work which includes drafting speeches for London Mayor Sadiq Khan and scripts for TV presenter Dan Walker while working for the BBC.

See all articles by Sanjeev Shetty