Awareness around mental health is greater than it has ever been. But what about in the work place? As employers, do we yet have an acceptance that a significant number of the people who work in our organisations will have difficulties with their mental health? This is the exact conversation we wanted to ignite with our most recent event on Workplace Mental Health, which took place at the Furniture Makers Hall on Wednesday 17th May.
We welcomed Sue Hazleton, from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England and Andy Bell, from Centre for Mental Health, as key speakers for our Investigo Network breakfast event. The session was introduced by Andy, who posed the following question to the audience, “Do we create safe spaces for people who are struggling to disclose their own mental health difficulties and is there more we could be doing to prevent avoidable problems in the first place?” With mental ill health being responsible for 72 million working days lost and costing in the region of £34.9 billion each year, this is an issue that we as employers need to address. By making it acceptable to talk about mental health in the work environment and training line managers in recognizing and responding to problems, we can have a substantial impact on our business and employees through becoming a more compassionate organisation.
Sue followed on from this with the practical part – Mental Health First Aid. While it is not a legal requirement for a business to train a mental health first aider, we have laws in place to ensure every business has physical first aiders. With the realisation that an employee is more likely to suffer from a panic attack, than a heart attack, the audience quickly understood the importance of Mental Health First Aid. Her advice included creating an environment where people could talk freely without being judged on their work capabilities, the need for stakeholder buy-in to influence change and using the MHFA action plan(which can be found on their website), along with a wealth of other resources and information on the training they provide.
Both speakers resonated with the Dr Justin Varney quote: “Supporting mental health in the workplace is not just a corporate responsibility; staff who have positive mental health are more productive and businesses who promote a progressive approach to mental health can see a significant impact on business performance, so it’s about good business too.”
This breakfast event was well-received by our clients and was part of a range of Investigo Network events being held to bring insight to our clients and candidates on topics that are relevant in today’s business world.
Please click here to download our Workplace Mental Health Insight magazine.
If you would like to learn more about the events and publications being released for the Investigo Network, please contact Lisa Holberton on firstname.lastname@example.org