Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

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Ian joined Informa (formerly UBM) in 2018 as the Editor of SHP. Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in business to business trade print media, in the automotive sector. He was Online Editor and then moved on to be the Editor of two publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.
May 10, 2019

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Mental Health Awareness Week: How to beat stress and keep the mind healthy

British Safety Council has launched a series of wellbeing videos containing exercises and advice to help workers beat stress and maintain good mental health.

Stress in the workplace - Safety Managment posterTo coincide with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from 13 – 19 May, the British Safety Council is urging employers to make changes in order to address mental wellbeing. With the aim to reduce the number of people suffering in silence while at work, it has launched a series of practical tools to help them deal with stress and anxiety at work.

It is doing this in the form of three videos, which are based on tried-and-tested wellbeing techniques and exercises that encourage staff to relax in order to alleviate racing thoughts associated with stress and anxiety. They also encourage physical activity at work.

Matthew Holder, Head of Campaigns at the British Safety Council, said: “Emotional resilience is important because it improves effectiveness at work. However, it also helps people gain greater immunity from certain illnesses. By making these exercises part of their daily routine, employees should be able to improve their wellbeing and resilience to stress.”

The three videos are focussed around Breathing, visualisation and chair exercises.

Breathing exercises slow the overall activity of the brain and relax the body and mind with the aim of controlling stress and anxiety.

The visualisation exercise video is intended to release tension and improve concentration.

Chair exercises include shoulder, leg, feet and stomach exercises for relaxing various parts of the body that stiffen and ache as we spend long periods of time at our desks.

Matthew Holder continued: “The British Safety Council’s wellbeing videos are intended as a practical resource to help employees look after their wellbeing and deal with the pressures of everyday working life. We hope that they will become a part of the lunchtime routine, accessed in bite-size chunks and used when required.

“Workers’ wellbeing is a shared responsibility between employers and employees and a true reflection of organisational culture. For workers to practice wellbeing and mindfulness at work, they must be supported by their organisations, their senior leadership and by line managers. Our videos feature simple wellbeing exercises, which do not require any infrastructure investment from employers. However, workers’ ability to use them in the workplace is likely to be proof of employers’ commitment to their workers’ health and wellbeing.”

Recognising that mental ill health is affecting society from an early age, this spring the government launched pilot schemes in 370 primary and secondary schools. They are designed to test different approaches to improving children’s mental health. The trial will teach students mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises to help them “regulate their emotions” and deal with “the pressures of the modern world.”

The British Safety Council’s vision is that no-one should be injured or made ill through their work. The charity recognises that great progress has been made in Britain on addressing safety issues, but there is still significant work to be done on wellbeing and health, particularly when it comes to mental health.

Last year the British Safety Council launched a range of mental health training courses designed to start conversations about mental health and support employees who are experiencing mental ill-health. These courses are now available in both classroom and online formats.

In November 2018, acknowledging the growing importance of workplace wellbeing and the numerous uncertainties around it, the British Safety Council published a report Not just free fruit: wellbeing at work. It defines wellbeing in the workplace and suggests a set of metrics for effectively measuring wellbeing programmes and interventions.

Workplace Wellbeing Show

Learn how to keep your workforce happy and healthy, and understand how to respond to the challenge of mental wellbeing in a brand new feature in Safety & Health Expo for 2019, featuring:

  • Wellbeing Theatre: for those FMs, HR professionals and H&S practitioners eager to improve the wellbeing of their workforces
  • Healthy Eating Café: promoting health eating in the workplace with salad boxes and delicious protein power bowls
  • Wellness Wall: experts from IWFM share ideas on how to encourage workplace wellbeing

Get your free ticket to Safety & Health Expo | ExCeL London | 18 - 20 June

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