Universally, responsibilities and duty of care under the Equality Act 2010 are frequently misunderstood. The majority of employers and managers want to do the right thing,
World Mental Health Day
Many organisations are starting to consider how they can support World Mental Health Day on October 10th, within their workplaces. Whilst managing mental health should be an integral part of working life every day of the year, this occasion does provide a great opportunity to re-communicate and build on existing activity around mental health activities.
The theme, set by the World Health Organisation, is Suicide Prevention; Over 110 people take their lives each week in the UK and it is the leading cause of death of men under the age of 45. At Mental Health at Work we think that suicide prevention starts with a conversation; but we also know that it isn’t easy to ask colleagues about mental health within the workplace.
World Mental Health Day can be an opportunity to encourage open conversation and raise awareness of the signposting and support available both within and external to organisations.
This can include your Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), private healthcare, Samaritans and local Mind branch. This can be a focus for an event in its own right or part of a broader programme involving speakers and employees focussing on the elements of mental health support that have been important for them.
If you have an Employee Interest Group or a network of Mental Health Allies, who have a role as expert listeners and signposters, then this is an ideal opportunity to ask them to lead events around themes that have arisen during recent months. This could be around people who have expressed an interest in sharing their personal stories, ‘masterclass’ style events on a particular aspect of workplace mental health, guidance on how individuals can manage their own mental health and even visual installations to represent how mental health impacts your workplace.
The Mental Health Foundation How To Guides
The Mental Health Foundation also produce a number of ‘How to’ guides around mental health, which are useful guides to make available for individuals to help them support and manage their own mental health. The link for these is below:
Green Ribbons are becoming a symbol of awareness and support around mental health and in purchasing them you are making a donation to the Mental Health Foundation and their work to support good mental health for all. The link for this is below:
It is worth considering running ‘Tea & Talk’ events, which are intended to be broader and more inclusive than the ‘How are you?’ – some people may be ready to talk about their mental health, but many will not. Our important message for the workplace is that we need to know our colleagues better, so that we can notice changes, which might indicate a move away for mental health for them and then have a conversation which might lead to signposting and support. If we are to get to know our colleagues, it is the conversation that is important ………. and it can be about anything.
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