World Mental Health Day provides a great opportunity to showcase how progressive employers are supporting employees in this important area


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World Mental Health Day sees employers remind about support

World Mental Health Day sees employers remind about support

World Mental Health Day is held each year on October 10. The day aims to raise awareness about mental health issues around the world and encourage efforts to support mental health.

The day provides an opportunity to speak openly about mental health issues, including what more can be done to help make mental health better understood.

Mental health in the workplace

The workplace can be stressful due to high-pressure environments, demanding deadlines, office politics and long working hours. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace; women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men; and evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. And, according to the Mental Health Foundation, as many as 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives overall.

Thankfully, with loads of new research and open discussions about mental health, companies now recognise the impact that the workplace can have on their employees. Not only does this impact employee wellbeing, but it can greatly reduce company productivity. Many companies are introducing initiatives that offer good support and care for the mental well being of their employees.

Below are some companies actively helping to address mental health issues in the workplace.

Diageo knows that happiness is the key to success

Diageo understands the importance of happy employees in creating productivity within their company. That is why Diageo Northern Ireland launched their ‘Secret to Success’ programme, which provides a range of workshops and an informal speaker series by senior executives to share advice on how they managed a positive work life balance. The key message of Diageo’s programme is that happiness brings success, not the other way around.

Diageo have also signed the Time to Change Pledge to end mental health stigma. “The Time to Change pledge will ensure that mental health will continue to feature as a key component of our Wellbeing Strategy. As part of our wellbeing programme linked to the pledge we will continue to inform educate and empower our employees in relation to mental health, and encourage an open and honest dialogue about how they are feeling,” says Diageo.

“We will highlight and promote a range of tools and support already available to enhance their wellbeing and resilience. Diageo's aspiration is that all employees will reach their full potential by experiencing the best possible physical and psychological health.”

McKesson provides mental health packages and training

McKesson’s Total Rewards package ensures good mental wellbeing for their employees and families. McKesson’s package includes mental health assessments, web-based resources including a wellness portal, telephonic and face-to-face counselling, and wellness events and activities supported through McKesson Wellness Champions network.

People managers at McKesson complete a mandatory three-hour mental health training session within their first year at McKesson, as well as an additional 2.5-hour training in the following year. The purpose of this training is to help its people managers understand and recognize mental health issues, maintain contact during the disability period and prepare for work reintegration and to learn about best practices to improve presence and quality of work, manage work attendance and develop personalized action plans for employees.

Employee wellbeing is key to productivity at Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric believes in the importance of mindfulness to create a corporate culture of high-performance.

“I’m glad and appreciative that, as a company, Schneider Electric understands that its people are its key asset and that it promotes employee self-care and well-being for optimal performance,” says Schneider Electric counsellor Mariana C. Gonzalez. “Schneider Electric understands the value of incorporating a contemplative or meditative practice into one’s daily life, not just to improve performance, concentration, decision-making, and productivity, but to support optimal stress/emotional management and self-care.”

At Schneider Electric, they really do strive to create a culture of well-being every day for all their employees.  For them, well-being is about being healthy, being happy and making the most of energy at work and at home. As a company they're strongly committed to creating a healthy environment for all their employees, and they're thrilled that they have been recognized by the American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index at the gold level for their quality workplace health programs and culture of health best practices.

University of Sheffield is recognised for efforts supporting mental health

University Sheffield - mental health week

The University of Sheffield has been named as one of the best not-for-profit organisations to work for in the UK by The Sunday Times. Included in the honour is the Wellbeing Special Award for the University of Sheffield’s creative approach to positively improve employees’ mental health.

The University has also refreshed its wellbeing initiative for staff – Juice – which provides a range of stimulating mental and physical activities, encouraging and inspiring all staff to look after their wellbeing. For Mental Health Week, Juice promotes #OpenUpSheffield by encouraging open dialogue around mental health issues through events, information and activities around University campus.

AECOM’s employees work hard to promote good mental health

AECOM has also won awards for their work in creating an environment of good mental health and welling in the workplace. Jess Dunn, a graduate engineer at AECOM, was named Health and Safety Graduate of the Year at Highways England’s first ever Health, Safety and Wellbeing Awards for her outstanding efforts to promote good mental health in the workplace.

“I’m delighted to receive this award. It’s great to see recognition of the importance of mental health and wellbeing and that we’re tackling the stigma around the topic,” said Jess.

Rio Tinto mental health

Rio Tinto uses art to reflect on the importance of good mental health

A sculpture was unveiled near Rio Tinto’s Paraburdoo iron ore mine in Western Australia as a symbol of strength and collaboration among remote Pilbara mining communities, where social isolation and lack of communication can lead to poor mental health. The sculpture forms part of the state-wide FIVE project, a partnership between Rio Tinto and arts and health organisation DADAA. FIVE aims to address the stigma of mental health through arts engagement to bring communities together and facilitate dialogue around difficult issues.

"FIVE has helped change perceptions about what it means to be creative and part of a community, while promoting a culture where it is OK to talk about how you are feeling,” explains Michael Gollschewski, Rio Tinto's managing director, Pilbara Mines.

Arcadis is committed to reducing stigma around mental health

For two years running, Arcadis has nominated mental health charity Mind as their Charity of the Year. Arcadis ais re planning to raise over £160,000 for Mind and to organise training in mental health topics.  Arcadis is also planning to sign the Time to Change Pledge to commit to reducing stigma and discrimination around mental health.

“I’m honoured to be supporting Mind as our corporate charity as voted for by our people. The issue of mental health is one that people often shy away from discussing, but I think it’s extremely important that we help to shine a spotlight on something that, either directly or indirectly, has impacted on so many people,” says Alan Brookes, CEO of Arcadis.

EY cares about its employees’ mental health

EY has certain initiatives in place to support its employees and ensure their good mental health. EY has been running its two-day Mental Health First Aid courses that won them the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England Award. Meanwhile, EY's Mental Health Network gives individuals working with mental-health issues and those around them a chance to build relationships and help break the taboo of talking about mental health.

“EY’s truly diverse and inclusive culture, has empowered me to be completely transparent about my Bipolar disorder and no longer be embarrassed or ashamed,” says Kate Wright, an Executive in EY’s Financial Services, IT Risk and Assurance team - as quoted on the EY website. “To help me manage bipolar, the firm’s flexible working policy means I’m able to attend weekly appointments and work remotely three days a week. This support was offered without hesitation and with complete empathy, enabling me to continue working whilst getting better.”

Oracle understands that good mental health matters

Oracle launched a campaign called ‘Mind Over Matters’ that provides employees with wellbeing resources and mental health support and to remove the stigma associated with mental health. The campaign includes an online wellbeing hub, printed and online information, workshops and webinars. Absences due to mental ill health have now dropped from 34% to 27% at Oracle thanks to the improved support.

“What we have begun to understand as part of our wellbeing programme is that our Mental Health underpins our overall health, function and behaviour,” comments Dermot O’Kelly, Senior VP for UK, Ireland and Israel at Oracle.

Is mental health a priority at your company?

On World Mental Health Day, it’s important to consider whether you believe your company is providing enough support for you and your colleagues to ensure positive mental wellbeing.

And, if not, perhaps it’s the perfect time to look for a new progressive employer who will go out of their way to help make sure your time at work is happy and supported.
 

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