According to the HSE, 602,000 workers are reported to have suffered from the above mental health issues in 2018/19, accounting for 44% of work-related ill health in total. Moreover, 12.8m working days were lost as a result of stress, depression and anxiety, which contributed to 54% of the total number of days lost due to ill health.
To help combat the stigma around mental health at work, members of SOCOTEC UK’s HR department undertook Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training in July 2018, which taught them how to recognise the crucial warning signs and symptoms of mental health and provide appropriate support. While they are not a substitute for trained therapists or psychiatrists, Mental Health First Aiders act as the first point of contact for employees who are experiencing mental health issues or emotional distress, offering impartial advice, providing appropriate support and listening in a non-judgemental manner.
As part of its wide range of bespoke professional health and safety qualifications, SOCOTEC also offers MHFA training to external organisations, covering the risk factors, resources and treatment for depression, anxiety, psychosis and other mental health disorders. Delegates undertaking the course will receive an enhanced understanding of the various factors that can affect wellbeing, equipping themselves with the competence required to identify and support associated symptoms and triggers.
In line with SOCOTEC’s range of workplace mental health initiatives, professionals are also encouraged to participate in Time to Talk Day on Thursday 6 February. Organised by Time to Change, a social movement dedicated to encouraging people to become more open about mental health, the aim of the day is to get more people talking about and listening to those with mental health issues, helping to change lives for the better.
Kim Chapman, HR business partner, SOCOTEC UK, commented: “With one in three of the UK workforce diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime, it is vitally important for organisations to encourage their staff to listen, reassure and respond to a range of mental health-related crises.
“As a responsible employer, SOCOTEC strives to support employees experiencing emotional distress or a mental health issue, encouraging them to talk more freely and helping to break down the stigma associated with workplace mental health. We strongly believe that MHFA training will help to implement positive cultural and behavioural change within the workplace, and hope to inspire other organisations to follow suit.”