This week is World Mental Health Day (10th October), and with current estimates that one in four of us in the UK will experience a mental health problem throughout our lives it’s clear that any employer needs to recognise this and take proactive steps to support their employees.
Whether it’s you, a parent, a sibling, a best friend, or colleague, most of us don’t always seek the help we need to address mental health issues and Stonebridge is helping this to change in the workplace by enhancing its support package for all colleagues.
One such recent measure was offering up Mental Health First Aider training for anyone who wanted to participate.
Sarah Cleobury, Head of People for Stonebridge who participated in the training said: “It felt like a no-brainer for me to study towards the Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider) qualification. I was keen to increase my knowledge of the subject and enhance my skills in spotting signs of people experiencing poor mental health, becoming more confident to start a conversation and signposting a person to appropriate support.
“Poor mental health is very much on the rise in the workplace and costs UK employers up to £56 billion each year. But for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, they get back £5.30 in reduced absence, presenteeism, and staff turnover*.
“The one key takeaway from the training I now put into practice is to give practical help to employees, but I don’t try to take over and solve all their problems – instead, I support new coping strategies and give them hope for recovery.”
Another senior leader within Stonebridge, Operations Director Gavin Earnshaw told us how awareness of mental health difficulties means he can ensure that adaptions to working practices can be considered and applied, but also that he is able to help colleagues that need a ‘listening ear’.
He said: “As a business leader it’s important for me to be aware of the types of mental health difficulties that can be present in our workforce. Learning about the signs and causes of mental health issues has put me in a much better place to be able to do both.”
Sales Manager, Leanne Beales chose to become a Mental Health First Aider as it’s a subject close to her heart after a friend took their own life.
Leanne said: “It was a complete shock to everyone who knew her and a massive eye opener that there are so many people out there feeling unhappy, trapped, and lonely and don’t feel they can share this with their loved ones or colleagues.
“When the opportunity arose for me to become a Mental Health First Aider, I jumped at the chance so that hopefully we can give all our colleagues options that my friend didn’t feel she had. I’m so pleased we support this as a company, as many people don’t want to talk to someone close to their personal life, but even if just one person reaches out it could make such a big difference.
“The one key thing I took away from training was to follow your instinct and when you ask someone if they’re ok and you feel they’re giving you the general “yes I am fine” response then ask again or rephrase it another way to try to engage in conversation.
Learning to spot mental health red flags
Claire Chambers heads up one of Stonebridge’s largest and most dynamic teams – Compliance Operations. She is fully committed to the mental health initiatives available to support Stonebridge managers in how they can monitor mental health red flags no matter where their place of work is, remote, or in the office.
She explains: “I encourage colleagues to engage with our wellbeing initiatives and to feel empowered to reach out for further assistance where and whenever needed. We have a genuine culture of support and overall wellbeing, and by training mental health first aiders across the business it really underpins our ongoing commitment to our colleagues. The one key learning from the training I have put into practice is being fully present and truly taking the time to listen when engaging with all my colleagues.”
In alignment with this year’s World Mental Health Awareness Day, Stonebridge is working continuously, recognising that mental health is on a par with physical health and is doing as much as possible to help prioritise and prevent mental ill-health amongst its colleagues.
*Source: Deloitte, 2022