Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace

Every year, 10th October is recognised as World Mental Health Day, to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and what can be done to promote mental wellbeing.

Here, Jo Smart, Head of Business Partnering, highlights some of the work that we are doing to support mental health in the workplace.

Research from UK mental health charity, Mind, has revealed that at least one in six workers experience mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. For this reason, it is vital for us at British Gypsum to address mental health at work so that we can offer support to those who need it. We are always seeking new ways to help our employees gain a better understanding of mental health and we do this through a range of practical sessions and training programmes. 

Throughout the week of World Mental Health Day, we are holding various ‘Start the Conversation’ sessions, which are available to all our employees. Run by the British Safety Council, the 45-minute facilitated sessions encourage learners to think and talk about mental health, including ways to look after their own mental wellbeing and how to support others who may need help. The sessions are highly interactive with plenty of opportunities for individuals to discuss issues in pairs and groups, allowing them to open up and consider other people’s perspectives of mental health.

To further enhance our support provision, we are delivering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to more than 30 employees. The purpose of the training is to teach the first aiders how to spot the symptoms of mental health issues and give them the skills to offer initial help and guide a person towards support. The training is not about turning them into a therapist, but more about teaching them to listen and making them aware of how to reassure and respond. Once qualified, Mental Health First Aiders will play a significant role in helping us to identify mental health issues in the workplace.

Lastly, we are rolling out the ‘It’s OK Not To Be OK’ one day practical programme in conjunction with AXA PPP Healthcare, to form part of our Manager Essential Skills training. The course provides the knowledge for line managers to promote and enhance positive mental health and to support employees who may be experiencing difficulties. It is important for us that staff feel confident that they can speak to their manager about these issues.

All of these activities are simple steps to help us to promote good mental health. Providing our employees with training opportunities to increase their knowledge on the subject and to learn more about how they can support one another are all positive contributions to our efforts to support mental health in the workplace.

I think it’s important to remember that mental health means different things to different people. Here are a few images that, for me personally, capture my interpretation of what positive mental health means.
British Gypsum - Mental Health Day

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