ON the eve of World Mental Health Day, held on 10 October, the British Safety Council is calling on the government and businesses to invest in prevention to tackle mental ill-health at work.
Lawrence Waterman, chairman of the British Safety Council, said: “There is growing awareness of the scale of the mental health crisis. The facts are stark: one in three of us will be diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in our lives. Three out of five people have experienced mental health issues due to work (Business in the Community).
“For years this issue went unrecognised and undetected, and I welcome the fact that government is now taking action - and that more and more companies are developing mental health strategies to support the needs of their workforce.”
Mr Waterman went on to say: “We must continue to make progress, not least in how people see mental health and their role in dealing with it. Given the average person now spends a third of their adult life at work, we all have a part to play in safeguarding physical and mental health at work.
“Just as with physical health and safety, prevention is the best cure and the wisest investment. Changes that reduce stress, encourage early intervention and remove the mental health stigma deliver significant long-term benefits.”
The British Safety Council, which has been delivering mental health awareness training since 2017, has developed new courses to increase understanding of factors which play a key role in employee health and wellbeing, including sleep, nutrition and exercise. These modules, available from November 2019, include training options for those with limited time.
Demand for the courses has come from the British Safety Council’s members and students who have already undertaken mental health training and want to foster a culture in their own organisations that positively promotes employee wellbeing and mental health.
Working in partnership with the mental health charity Mates in Mind, the British Safety Council delivers several mental health training courses. These help people start and manage difficult conversations about mental health.
Start the Conversation – a 45-minute session that aims to get employees thinking about mental health and talking about it.
Manage the Conversation – a three-hour workshop for line managers to give them the skills and confidence to have conversations about mental health.
Mental Health First Aid – a two-day course that teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
There are also online resources: including Start the Conversation, which aims to get employees thinking about mental health and talking about it, Resilience, developed with elite sports professionals for building physical and emotional resilience, and Stress Awareness training for employees and managers.