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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
September 11, 2018
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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, has launched a Mental Health at Work programme. A new online gateway, launched in September 2018, will help companies improve staff wellbeing, as new research reveals almost half of Brits have experienced mental health problems at work.
Mental health resources for employers and employees
The Mental Health at Work website has been developed by Prince William and Mind, with support from The Royal Foundation, Heads Together and 11 other organisations.
It brings together information, advice, resources and training that employers can use to improve wellbeing and give employees the mental health support they need.
Speaking at the launch, Prince William said: “If we’re going to improve the mental health of our nation, we need to improve things at work. People spend more time at work than almost anywhere else, yet research shows that it’s also the place where we are least comfortable talking about mental health.
“We need to tackle two big problems. We need to stop people feeling as if they need to hide and we need to make sure that anyone with any responsibility for others at work knows what to do.
“It just takes one person to change the way a company thinks about mental health. Sadly, we know that too many businesses simply don’t know where to turn. They want to help, but sometimes they don’t know how.
“I’m delighted that the Royal Foundation have supported Mind to create such a valuable tool. If you are a business owner, a team leader, a line manager, you work in HR or just believe in supporting the wellbeing of your colleagues, Mental Health at Work can help.”
The website is being launched as a new survey from Mind reveals that almost half (48%) of all people say they have experienced a mental health problem in their current job.
A survey of more than 44,000 employees carried out by the charity also revealed that only half of those who had experienced poor mental health had talked to their employer about it, suggesting that as many as one in four UK workers is struggling in silence.
The research also found managers who felt their employer supported their mental health, or actively built their skills in supporting team members with mental health problems, were far more likely to feel confident in promoting staff wellbeing.
In addition, a report published today by the CBI found that two in three (63%) of businesses saw workplace health and wellbeing as an important issue, but most find it difficult to take practical actions because they are unclear about what works.
The CBI survey data also reveals that there has been a four-fold increase in the number of UK firms with 5% or more of their workforce disclosing a mental health condition – from 11% in 2013 to 40% in 2017.
Yet more than four in five businesses (84%) say that they feel their employees are less comfortable talking about mental health compared to physical health at work.
‘Time for a step change’ says MIND Chief Executive, Paul Farmer
‘Over the last few years employers have begun to take staff wellbeing more seriously and we know that many are doing great work around mental health in the workplace,’ said MIND Chief Executive, Paul Farmer.
‘Now is the time for a step change in how we think about mental health at work. All employers need to make it a focus and support their staff.
‘Even small changes to policy, approach and workplace culture can make a really big difference to the mental health of those around us,’ added Mr Farmer.
‘No matter the size of your workplace, and no matter where you work, Mental Health at Work can help you find what you need to start or continue your journey to better workplace wellbeing for everyone.’
The new programme will include a website with resources for bosses, along with online training for employees from small and medium-sized businesses.
Prince William says ‘this is personal’
“For me, this is personal,” said the Duke of Cambridge. “I worked in a job as an air ambulance pilot quite recently, where along with my colleagues I dealt with traumatic and stressful situations.
“But in my place of work mental health was taken very seriously,” he told a conference in March 2018, when he unveiled the programme and its plans. “We could be open about our experiences and could support our colleagues when they needed it, including very thorough debriefs.
“We knew how to talk about pressure and knew where to direct each other for help.”
His Royal Highness said data from the Heads Together campaign showed just 2% of staff felt able to talk to their HR departments about mental health.
Buy-in at senior level is critical
At the conference Prince William added he had just come from a roundtable meeting with a “number of industry leaders”, where they had talked in more detail about the issue of mental health in the workplace.
“And what struck me from this discussion was how critical buy-in at senior level to this will be,” he said. “Both in ensuring priority is given to supporting positive mental health among the staff, but also in setting an example – that talking about mental health is to be encouraged.”
Prince William launches workplace wellbeing programme websiteThe Mental Health at Work programme has been developed by Prince William and Mind. It brings together advice and training that employers can use to improve employee wellbeing. Read here for details of the Mental Health at Work initiative.
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