One in four of people will experience problems with their mental health at some point in their lives. 
Like any other illness, mental illness does not disappear at the office door. Indeed, quite the opposite, a sufferer may find that their illness can take on new dimensions in the workplace – impacting productivity, relationships with colleagues and general self-esteem.
Ranging from the day-to-day worries that everyone experiences to more long-term, debilitating conditions, we must therefore be mindful of the importance of sustaining positive mental health in the workplace.
Ian Hadridge, Associate Vice President of Business Solutions and point of contact for mental health awareness at HealthTrust Europe, discusses how HR departments can get the whole workplace involved in mental health awareness.
Mental Health Awareness
“The stigma around mental health is slowly but surely lifting thanks to the efforts of organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation, who work to gain more exposure of mental health issues through Mental Health Week (next year to be held between 18th and 20th May 2020)” Ian points out.
“Nevertheless there is certainly more that can be done from an HR perspective to ensure that our workplaces take a responsible and proactive approach to employees’ mental health.”
“We should ensure that we create to the best degree possible an environment in which staff feel mentally well”Ian Hadridge, HealthTrust Europe
This includes making sure staff feel comfortable talking about their mental health during those times they may not be feeling well, but it also means that the entire workforce understands the importance of positive mental health amongst themselves and their colleagues.
Awareness in Action
“At HealthTrust Europe, we recently rolled out training amongst our staff to spot the signs and tackle the stigma of mental illness in the workplace. The mental health first aid courses are being delivered by Birmingham Mind, the largest independent mental health charity providing services in and beyond the City of Birmingham’s boundaries.”
“Partnering with an organisation like Mind has enabled us to gain expert advice and give something in return: as our chosen charity of 2019, we have raised over £5,000 for Birmingham Mind”Ian Hadridge, HealthTrust Europe
“With Mind’s support we have offered an initial two-day programme to volunteers at our Edgbaston offices.”
Through the training, HealthTrust Europe aim to:
- Give staff members the knowledge and confidence to recognise signs of mental health problems
- Encourage someone to seek the right help
- Reduce the stigma around mental illness, from mild anxiety through to the early signs of depression and suicidal tendencies.
“Later this year complementary training will be delivered to 35 managers across the business, and the next stage will be for all staff members to attend awareness training.”
As a mission-driven organisation committed to the care and improvement of human life, HealthTrust Europe takes first aid seriously, and already have a team of trained first aiders.
“To continue this objective and to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff remain of top priority, mental health training is the next logical step to take,” explains Ian.
“Like many employers, we offer a benefits package that provides colleagues access to free, confidential counselling should they want it. However, the new mental health training teaches colleagues to be aware of the signs of mental ill health in others, which is a huge step to making mental health a company-wide priority, and ensuring that we take a holistic approach to our employees’ wellbeing.”
“Positive mental health is essential for all aspects of working life, but responsibility should not lie simply with the individual or even the HR department to look out for mental health issues in the workplace”Ian Hadridge, HealthTrust Europe
“By training all staff to identify the key signs of mental illness, we can lift the stigma around mental health in the workplace and sustain a team effort to promote staff wellbeing during the working day and beyond,” concludes Ian.
To discover how you can address and improve mental health in your workplace, please visit Mind.
About HealthTrust Europe
- HealthTrust Europe is a solutions partner for health and care providers, helping them to source the best value products and services to deliver high-quality patient care.
- In the UK, HealthTrust Europe serves over 280 public and private healthcare providers and manages over £1bn of spend to negotiate best value and terms on behalf of its members.
- Operating a unique Group Purchasing Organisation (GPO) the model works to alleviate cost pressures; helping the health sector make double digit savings at no cost to the taxpayer or the NHS.
- Driven by their mission to care for and improve human life, HealthTrust Europe believes in offering best value based on high quality, safety and service at a competitive price.
- HealthTrust Europe offers a wide range of solutions across medical and surgical categories, pharmacy, diagnostics and purchased services including workforce and technology.
- Discover more about this forward-thinking organisation by visiting healthtrusteurope.com.
 McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care. Taken from Mind.