Chris Brown attends Mental Health First Aider Course

According to the latest report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 526,000 UK workers were suffering from work-related mental health problems of stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 and 12.5 million working days were lost as a result.

Business in the Community’s Mental Health at Work Report 2016 collated the results gathered through both a public open survey and a YouGov panel survey of nearly 20,000 people currently in employment in the UK, and  found that 77% have experienced symptoms of poor mental health at some point in their lives, and 29% have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. 62% of employees attributed their symptoms of poor mental health to work or said that work was a contributing factor. The results from the open survey are even starker, with 84% having experienced physical, psychological or behavioural symptoms of poor mental health where work was a contributing factor.

35% of employees did not approach anyone for support the last time they experienced poor mental health and 9% of employees who experienced symptoms of poor mental health experienced disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

Here at Atkins Gregory we recognise that we have a duty of care to respond to our employees’ mental health needs in the same way we do to physical conditions, and our Health and Safety Officer, Chris Brown has recently attended a Mental Health First Aider course to develop his knowledge and understanding of the stigmas around mental health in the workplace. Chris says: “The two day internationally recognised course teaches us how to recognise the crucial warning signs of mental ill health and to signpost to appropriate support. Embedding MHFA training within any organisation or community also encourages people to talk more freely about mental health, reducing stigma and creating a more positive culture.

“At Atkins Gregory our people are our greatest asset, and we treat them as such, so it is paramount that we are able to support them when they need it most. By discouraging an ethos of keeping quiet about mental health concerns we can promote early intervention and enable recovery. I’m not a therapist, but I can listen without judgement and let people know where they can get professional support and self-help strategies.

“Staff wellbeing is crucial to the success of any business, and particularly in the service industry, so empowering the management team to support employees and demonstrating to staff that they will be listened to and helped isn’t just a ‘nice to do’; it maximises performance, productivity and staff loyalty, all of which make Atkins Gregory a successful company and an excellent employer.”