It is that time of the year, where we look at the business and consider what we might change and what area we should focus our investment on so I wanted to share one of my main priorities for this year.

You have a first aider in your business, right? Probably even more than one.

Did you know that due to the ever-increasing awareness of health and safety, workplace injuries are on a downward trend? In 2018/19 there were 581,000 non-fatal injuries reported, in the workplace. Based on a figure of 27.7m workers, that’s around 2%. Of course, many more will be unreported, so let’s say we quadruple that and make it 8%.

Were you aware that one adult in six experiences a common mental health problem, every week? That’s over 16%. Double the risk when compared to physical harm.

As employers, we have a duty of care to the people in our organisation to avoid acts or omissions which are likely to cause harm to others. If mental health is going to be the larger risk, this is where our focus should be.

Not only due to the duty of care element, but because anxiety and depression are thought to be the cause of one in five lost work days. How much is that worth to your business?

I recently undertook a mental health first aider course, along with a few of my colleagues and found it invaluable.

Knowing the people in our company have a number of mental health first aiders to come to, to talk about mental health can make them feel much more secure in the environment and reduce the need for time off. Making a big deal about us having people in those positions has also helped to reduce the stigma around the discussions on mental health, making people much more at ease.  With such a prevalent issue, why would we not want to discuss it? Why is there a stigma at all?

if you’re looking to engage your staff, improve your culture and reduce time off work, then I would recommend that a mental health discussion, and focus should be on the agenda.  While mental health first aid is not mandatory, it is certainly sensible and having completed this myself, I can highly recommend it.

Jo Campbell – Director
Breaking the taboo around mental health
Part of the Verve Group

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