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The importance of Mental Health Awareness Training

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Mental Health seems to be everyone’s favourite ‘buzz word’ at the moment. But behind all the hype and the headlines there’s a whole host of legitimate reasons why businesses are (and should be) investing time and attention into supporting employees. We’ve been doing just this since 2012 when we started working with Andrew Harris from The Fit for Work Team, based in Leicester.

We caught up with him about The Fit for Work initiative...

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LA: How long have you worked with Label Apeel and in what capacity?

AH: The Fit for Work Team has been working in partnership with Label Apeel for the past four years.  We originally provided support and guidance to identify the health and wellbeing needs of their employees enabling them to implement a tailored Healthy Workplace Programme.

LA: Tell me about the mental health awareness training that you’ve been doing?

AH: In response to Label Apeel’s annual employee Health Needs Assessment questionnaire, mental health was highlighted as an action area. The Fit for Work Team recently delivered a practical guide for line managers on how to successfully manage mental health in the workplace. The training enabled managers to recognise the importance of good mental health at work and develop a greater understanding about how Line Manager behaviour impacts employee health and productivity. It also helped Line Managers to recognise and manage the signs and symptoms of an employee becoming unwell and be aware of the tools and resources that are available to support their teams.

LA: Mental Health seems to be a favourite buzz word at the moment.

AH: Mental Health has quickly risen to top of the business agenda. A 2016 report by the CIPD highlighted only 10% of businesses currently provide any type of mental health awareness training for Line Managers. The same report found that 56% of employees would not feel confident disclosing unmanageable stress or mental health problems to their current employer or manager. The team at Label Apeel has a long established history of looking at prevention. This latest investment in employee health and wellbeing is another example of how serious the team take the agenda.

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L.A: Why is it a good thing that Label Apeel is prepared to invest time and energy into staff mental health?

AH: Mental health is still very stigmatised, particularly in the workplace. People see it as a weakness. The funny thing is just having a conversation about mental health can make the world of difference to someone life. Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK. It is estimated to cost UK employers £25bn each year. Forward thinking businesses like Label Apeel clearly identify with both the business and human case for investing in mental health. It will help them to reduce costs related to mental health related sickness absence and staff turnover. It will continue to demonstrate they are an exemplar employer and that they care about the health of their staff. This in turn will boost morale, engagement and productivity. 

For more details on The Fit for Work, contact Andrew Harris andrew.harris@fitforworkteam.org or 0116 31 21 200. 

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