Journalist, SHP Online

October 10, 2016

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World Mental Health Day 2016

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World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, and on this day, each October, thousands of supporters observe an annual awareness program to bring attention to Mental Illness and its major effects on people’s lives worldwide.

This year’s theme ‘Dignity in Mental Health-Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All’ aims to contribute to the goal of taking mental health out of the shadows so that people in general feel more confident in tackling the stigma, isolation and discrimination that continues to plague people with mental health conditions, their families and carers.

A report ‘Dignity in Mental Health-Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All’ is available to download here.

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Mental health at work

Mental health charity Mind’s research confirms that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers:

  • More than one in five (21 per cent) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them
  • 14 per cent agreed that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them
  • 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’
  • 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance. Ideally, speaking about mental health problems should be an intrinsic part of the culture of your workplace.

Supporting employees is vital. Time to change, a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health problems, stress the importance employers play in supporting staff to maintain their mental wellbeing. Regular supervision or catch-up meetings can help managers recognise symptoms such as stress, anxiety, paranoia or depression. It is also worth incorporating time in your meetings to discuss your employees’ wellbeing. In addition managers play a crucial role in setting reasonable adjustments, flexible working allowances and return to work plans if employees need additional support.

More information about supporting staff is available here.

Mental health in construction

Last month a new sector-wide programme was launched to improve and promote positive mental health within the construction industry.

The aim of Mates in Mind will be to help raise awareness and understanding of poor mental health in the construction sector, importantly undertaken in a way that is consistent and made available to all workers across the sector.

Mates in Mind, led by the Health in Construction Leadership Group and supported by the British Safety Council have set up this programme to help employers address the issue of mental ill health. Announcing it on international World Suicide Prevention Day, Clive Johnson, Chair of the Health in Construction Leadership Group, said: “The mission of HCLG as a group is to unite the construction industry in order to eradicate the ill health and disease caused by work-related activities, and this includes addressing mental health.“Working together with the British Safety Council and key partners in the construction industry and mental health, we believe we can make a significant difference.” 

“It is estimated that the number of deaths from suicide in the construction industry could be 10 times higher than those from fatal accidents at work.

How comfortable are you with discussing your employees’ mental health?

Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing

Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.

This free director’s briefing contains:

  • Key points;
  • Recommendations for employers;
  • Case law;
  • Legal duties.
Barbour EHS

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