Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 – Supporting Organisational Wellbeing

Mental health

Did you know:

  • 1 in 6 people will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their lifetime
  • Mental Health is costing businesses £1300 per employee per year in sickness/absence and lost productivity
  • 3 out of every 5 employees would be fearful of the consequences should they speak to a manager about a mental health problem

This week (16th-22nd May) sees Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 taking place with events happening throughout the UK. As part of our drive towards creating more mentally healthy workplaces, earlier this month we held a free to attend Organisational Wellbeing Masterclass at TLD to help highlight and explore some of the key issues. The objective was to bring together representatives from a diverse selection of businesses at our centre in Crawley, in order to share some of the latest research, tips and ideas for creating healthier workplaces and to demonstrate our capability in this area. We had a fantastic turnout from organisations ranging from police forces to construction companies and the day was welcomed by all of the attendees, keen to create more effective workspaces and more resilient employees.

Our specialist in Organisational Wellbeing, Jon Bartlett, led the group through a range of taster sessions focusing on the concepts of wellbeing cultures, supporting emotional health, developing mental toughness and managing mental health, showcasing the need for a diverse range of skills and approaches when addressing mental wellbeing. Sarah says ‘There is no one size fits all approach to organisational wellbeing – it’s different for different organisations however there are two key foundation stones that we focus on which are; firstly giving people the ability to manage stress and support their own mental wellbeing, and secondly helping managers to support and manage employees’ mental health. But to ensure success with this two pronged approach organisations have to look at their wellbeing culture – is there a real or perceived expectation that employees answer email after hours? Do people eat ‘al desko’? It’s all very well having an amazing EAP or benefits offering but if the culture encourages a badge of honour for those putting in the longest hours then the investment in benefits is wasted.’

People who spent the day with us reported that they really enjoyed having the chance to network with such a diverse range of organisations and to hear what others are doing, as well as being able to share in the knowledge and expertise of our facilitators and their willingness to share personal experience.

But we are also excited to be able to help support our own employees’ mental health, and to honour Mental Health Awareness Week , we are running a series of workshops and activities to help our staff develop their resilience, build more empowering relationships and find more constructive ways of handling stress.

This morning we kicked off with a pre-work yoga session, giving staff the chance to exercise and re-energise before they start their day, helping to get them off on the right foot (literally). Yoga was chosen as it’s a great exercise that benefits both mental and physical health, and encouraging employees to do something positive before work will undoubtedly have positive outcomes for our staff and the business as a whole. With a whole programme of events being run during the week, we aim to build a stronger business by creating stronger employees, both physically and mentally.

L&D and Mental Health

Did you know it is also Learning at Work Week this week? Learning at Work Week is all about promoting better learning and development opportunities for the UK’s workforce, and we felt that learning about mental wellbeing would be the perfect way to celebrate both events collectively, empower our staff to learn and develop in a new way, and also showcase that L&D isn’t just about job specific skills development.

Today, for example, employees have had the opportunity to learn more about stress and how to manage it better. Other sessions during the week will be covering topics such as; emotion management, resilience and mental toughness, and the theme of MHAW16 – relationships. There are more yoga sessions, and tai chi taking place each morning and massages and facials in the afternoon; and of course our #justonething campaign where we suggest one small thing people can do each day to achieve better mental health.

We are fortunate to have an excellent team of consultants with expertise in mental health, emotional wellbeing and behavioural skills development, who are volunteering their time to support their colleagues and the business in building a more mentally healthy and positive workforce, and we’re delighted to see people making the most of this opportunity and taking time to do something positive for their mental wellbeing.

Are you doing anything special to mark MHAW 2016? Or Learning at Work Week? We’d love to hear what other businesses and individuals are doing to raise awareness of these events, so please get in touch and share your tips, stories or comments.