A study by the mental health charity Mind found that on average 1 in 6 people in the workplace struggle with their mental health, and less than half feel able to talk to their employers or manager about their psychological wellbeing.
Difficulties regarding mental health in the workplace create a huge social and economic impact on our society, most often than not resulting in businesses losing valuable employees and taking a heavy toll on vulnerable individuals without support.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges, with the focus on physical health services resulting in those for mental health being disrupted, and those already struggling facing increased demands on their mental wellbeing.
People are at the heart of our business, which makes it imperative that we provide health and wellbeing support for our employees during these difficult times. Our employee-ownership status creates a synergistic environment, embracing the views and feedback from our employees and allowing us to work together to improve mental wellbeing across the business.
With one in four people likely to experience difficulties with their mental health, we have made it a priority to change the way we think and act on encouraging positive mental health in the workplace. Through our proactive approach, we aim to end discrimination and encourage colleagues to talk freely about their mental wellbeing and ways we could support others across the UK and Ireland. Our dedicated health and wellbeing strategy provides a system of support and practical advice to help maintain and promote the positive mental health of our workforce.
We are committed to implementing practical support and encouraging our employees to feel safe when talking about their mental health. We have developed a team of trained mental health first aiders who provide help and guidance for any of our colleagues who may need their assistance. Our managers also receive appropriate training, encouraging them to feel confident in talking about their own mental health and enabling them to spot the signs of wellbeing problems within their team.
For those needing more focused help, our Employee Assistance Programme provides a professional counselling service and practical advice to help with mental health and wellbeing. Our Listening Ear initiative also provides one-to-one confidential telephone support provided by qualified and experienced colleagues.
Due to the challenges caused by the pandemic, our employee council established our pioneering health and wellbeing action group. The purpose of the group is to continually look for fun and interesting ways for our employees to stay connected and supported, whilst riding out or recovering from local measures imposed due to the pandemic. Since its creation we have held a variety of in-work health and wellbeing sessions, including mindfulness and meditation, yoga and even Zumba. Our virtual meetings have also provided regular opportunities for colleagues in both the UK and Ireland to get involved with quizzes, evening social events, virtual coffee and chat sessions, virtual lunches and team events. Our ‘Step into Spring’ campaign also helped to encourage physical activity whilst supporting our nominated charities with our online Strava group.
As a business, our employees are undoubtedly our most valuable asset, with their mental and physical wellbeing remaining a primary focus. That said, we are all responsible for supporting one another in these difficult times and must come together to move forward from these difficult times.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please speak to a registered mental health charity or helpline which you can find here.