Business leaders aspire to create workplaces where each individual enjoys good physical and mental health and is able to thrive. As a result, it may be the epitome of teamwork, motivation and productivity, with low levels of absenteeism, high retention rates and job satisfaction. For some companies, such aspiration may come to fruition, but unfortunately, for many others, there is a bleaker reality.
Recently published data by HSE in Health and safety at work: Summary statistics for Great Britain 2022 make for stark reading:
- 914,000 workers suffering from long-standing work-related stress, depression or anxiety
- 17 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety
- 372,000 workers suffering from a new case of stress, depression or anxiety
The subsequent impact on business cannot be overlooked, and for those individuals concerned, the human cost may be greater still. Absenteeism is not the only concern; increasingly, presenteeism is also a productivity issue, with employees working while struggling with their mental health. For some, the risk of burnout is a real threat.
Outside of the workplace, a lot of us desperately spin far too many plates as we scrabble for that ever-elusive work-life balance, manage the current cost of living crisis and deal with the often relentless onslaught of everyday challenges. No wonder we are often at best somewhat frazzled and at worst struggling to cope.
We may venture into work with our mental capacity stretched to its limit or severely diminished and hope no one will notice. Although mental health is no longer taboo, sadly, stigma remains, and we might fear being judged or discriminated against. Whether real or perceived, fear can prevent us from speaking up and seeking support.
Most of us are accomplished at presenting an upbeat, positive façade when inside, we might feel anything from wobbly to broken; we offer the mantra ‘I’m fine, everything’s fine…’, perhaps even trying to convince ourselves. And so, we struggle on, all the time adding to our own ‘pressure pot’, keeping under the radar until we risk mental health problems exacerbating to mental illness, such as depression or anxiety.
Cause for hope
Many companies regard their duty of care to staff as much more than a box-ticking exercise. They strive to create an environment in which good mental health is promoted, and wellness strategies form an intrinsic part of the corporate culture. Such openness about mental health helps break down stigma and other obstacles that prevent people from asking for assistance.
Proactive companies seek progressive ways to nurture employees’ wellness and to deliver emotional and practical support – and this increasingly includes the provision of ‘Well-being First Aiders’.
Well-being First Aiders are trained to notice possible signs of declining mental health and have the competence and confidence to approach a colleague to give valuable help before they hit a crisis point. Such an intervention cannot be underestimated: quite simply, it can be a lifeline. While a Well-being First Aider seeks neither to diagnose nor treat, they are able to offer an empathic, non-judgemental approach, are equipped to signpost formal and informal avenues of possible support, and can suggest helpful coping strategies.
The earlier mental health problems are recognised, the quicker the journey to recovery may begin, with subsequent benefits to both employee and employer.
Physical and mental well-being training firm Prima Voca delivers courses for the workplace setting, which can take place online and face-to-face. The courses present participants with the opportunity to develop proactive ways of taking both preventative and supportive action, as well as providing a toolbox of transferable skills.
Upon successful completion, delegates receive certification as Mental Health First Aiders. With a focus on understanding mental health, challenging stigma, knowing how and where to seek help, and exploring coping methods and self-care, the courses are designed so that any employee will benefit.
Who are Prima Voca?
Prima Voca delivers skills-based and regulatory-compliant training, enabling businesses to provide physical first aid and mental well-being support to colleagues in need.
The two-day, workshop-style, Mental Health Wellbeing First Aid courses are relaxed and interactive. Delegates completing the course will be awarded a nationally recognised certificate, valid for three years.
All Prima Voca course leaders are qualified and experienced educators, mental health professionals or both and committed to making a difference in the workplace.
Contact Prima Voca: primavoca.co.uk / email@example.com / 07709 024981