Time to Talk about Mental Health in the Workplace this October

Mental Health in the Workplace is the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, which is taking place on 10th October.

Health and care providers in Cumbria are encouraging people to talk about mental health in their workplaces.

One in six UK workers experience depression, stress or anxiety; so even if you haven’t been personally affected then it’s very likely that one of your colleagues has. Having open and honest conversations about wellbeing in the workplace is an important step in tackling the stigma around mental health. Everyone needs to take good care of their mental health, and even small things can make a difference:

  • Ask someone how they are doing and take the time to listen
  • Share tips with colleagues about how you relax and destress after a busy day at work
  • Look for signs of stress in your colleagues and think about what you could do to help
  • Find out what health and wellbeing support your organisation offers

The three NHS Trusts that cover Cumbria - Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) – have all signed up to the North East & Cumbria Better Health at Work Award, as part of their commitment to improving the physical and mental health of their workforce.

Lynn Marsland, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at CPFT commented:

“It’s important that our staff take good care of themselves in order to care for others, and as a Trust we have implemented a number of processes and initiatives to ensure that staff have the opportunities to do just that. Over the past 2 years we have significantly reduced our sickness absence rates, by recognising triggers for stress and supporting our workforce to address these.

“We have introduced a Health and Wellbeing Strategy and there are a number of initiatives available to staff, including mindfulness training, training to improve resilience during difficult times, and direct access to First Step services for those with mild to moderate mental health issues including depression and anxiety. The Trust’s Health and Wellbeing Advocates have also been encouraging colleagues to think about their own health and providing opportunities to improve the wellbeing of their teams. We have seen evidence of the steps towards success in our Friends and Family test results and our annual staff survey – but we know we still need to do more! Our next key area of focus, in line with many organisations across the NHS, is to develop our campaign against bullying and harassment.”

Christine Brereton, Director of Human Resources at NCUH said:

“The health and wellbeing of our staff is a Trust priority and the mental health of all of our employees is something we take very seriously.  We have systems in place for staff members to get help should they feel they need it and I would like to encourage everyone to seek support at the earliest opportunity. Our Occupational Health teams do a fantastic job in looking after our staffs’ mental health and we have an Employee Assistance Programme which offers confidential advice and counselling.”

Jackie Daniels, Chief Executive, UHMBT, added:

“We also offer a number of services to support our staff experiencing mental health issues and have recently pledged our support to the Time to Change campaign as part of our ongoing commitment to challenging and reducing stigma and discrimination.  As part of signing up to the Better Health at Work Award, we will be introducing Mental Health First Aid courses for our staff. This internationally recognised training course will give staff a deeper understanding of the issues that impact on and relate to people’s mental health, and teach them practical skills that can be used every day, including being able to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and feel confident guiding people towards support.”

World Mental Health Day is an annual event, supported by health care and third sector organisations around the globe, including mental health charity Mind. The Mindline Cumbria is available 12noon-9pm Mon-Fri and 5-9pm Sat on 0300 561 0000 for anyone who would like support with mental health issues.