5 tips on creating a healthy workplace | World Mental Health Day 2017



Hi, I’m Shelley Southon, Head of Community
Mental Health, Wellbeing and Work at Shaw Trust. I want to talk to you about Mental
Health in the Workplace. The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day. According to the Office for National Statistics,
in the UK, an unbelievable 15.8 million working days are lost every year to mental health
problems. But sadly, this number is much, much higher.
Research carried out by Time to Change states that 95% of employees calling in sick with
stress gave a different reason. Would you tell your line manager you weren’t
coming in to work because of your anxiety or depression. No you'd would probably say you had a cold
for fear of the negative repercussions, the discrimination or stigma. It seems astonishing that in 2017 people are still
being made to feel so ashamed, and so isolated by a condition that currently affects 1 in
4 workers in the UK. Look around your office. 1 in 4 is a lot people,
a lot of people not able to be open and honest about their mental health for fear of judgement
and prejudice. At Shaw Trust we are committed to changing
this, both as a national employer and as a charity delivering mental health and wellbeing
services within local communities. We want to break the “taboo” of mental health
in the workplace. Crucially, the financial rewards for organisations
are huge. Last year, British business lost more than £5billion as a result of employees
off work with stress. Just think what an extra £5billion could
mean for the UK economy at a time when there is such uncertainty. There is a wealth of fantastic resources available
for employers looking to tackle mental health in the workplace but here are 5 of my top
tips that I believe are easy to implement and can make a real difference. Number 1. Get someone at Board level to
champion tackling mental health. This highlights to staff that it is something that the organisation
is taking seriously and sees as a strategic goal. Number 2. It's about having clear signposting to Health and Wellbeing resources for staff and communicate
about them regularly, clearly and consistently. Number 3. Avoid a culture of people working long hours. are always working overtime , find out why. Number 4. Encourage proper lunch breaks led senior management. Number 5. Make sure your company has a mental health policy. To ensure a consistent and supportive management approach. Tacking mental health in the workplace is
a complex issue and will involve a lot more than these top tips but by committing to these
you are setting yourself on the right path and sending out a very positive message of
commitment to your employees. As an organisation, be bold, don’t be afraid. As Mahatma Gandhi said “be the change you want to see happen”. Thank you for listening.

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