West of England businesses are being encouraged to seek support to help them respond to their employees’ mental health concerns, ahead of national Time to Talk Day (Thursday 4 February).
Advice is available through the West of England Combined Authority’s (WECA’s) Thrive at Work West of England programme, which aims to address the key mental health issues that businesses say are affecting their employees.
Training is targeted towards small and medium-sized businesses and ethnic minority-led companies to help support those who may have been impacted the most by Covid-19. It includes e-learning to equip managers with the confidence and skills to have supportive conversations with their staff about mental health and wellbeing. The package of support, including training resources, is available through WECA’s West of England Growth Hub website.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “Mental health and wellbeing can have a huge impact on individuals, employers, and the wider economy. Time to Talk Day is a good opportunity for businesses to find out more about the wide range of mental health support available. Even just a short conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference. The e-learning content has been written by the charity Mind – one of the leading mental health organisations behind Time to Talk Day.”
Thrive at Work West of England is a collaboration between the West of England Combined Authority, Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils, the mental health charity Mind (which leads Time to Talk Day alongside Rethink Mental Illness), plus businesses and organisations in the Thriving at Work regional network and the unions. The programme aims to help create mentally healthy workplaces through supporting the region’s employers with information, tools and training.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “The last year has been incredibly tough for us all and it’s never been more important to have a conversation about mental health.
“It’s easy to think we haven’t got the power to make a change in our workplaces, particularly when we’re adapting to many new ways of working, but lots of ‘small’ conversations can add up to a big difference in tackling the stigma too many people still experience because of their mental health.
“There are lots of different ways to have a conversation about mental health and you don’t have to be an expert to talk. This Time to Talk Day, play your part – reach out to a colleague, send a message, have a conversation. Then explore how your organisation can look to further build a culture where staff feel supported, listened to and know that they are valued using the resources available through Thrive at Work West of England.”
Mental health is an issue that can have a huge impact upon individuals, their employers and the wider economy:
- In a survey of 16,000 people, Mind found that more than one in five adults (22%) with no previous experience of poor mental health said that their mental health was poor or very poor during the height of the [first wave of the] pandemic.
- Amongst those in work this figure was 35%, rising to as high as 48% amongst those who had seen their employment status change as a result of the virus, for example by having been furloughed, redeployed within the organisation or seen a change in their shift patterns or hours.
- The Centre for Mental Health estimates around 8.5 million adults in England will need support for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems and difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
Thrive at Work, and other packages of business support, can be accessed through WECA’s regional Growth Hub support offer which has been expanded to help businesses through Covid-19.
For more information about Time to Talk Day, please visit: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day