Thursday 6th February marks the annual occurrence of Time To Talk Day. A day to bring the nation together to start talking and help break the stigma around mental health problems.
However, here at Novatech, we believe that dismantling the stigma around mental health problems is going to take more than one dedicated day a year - that’s why we've taken steps to address it all year round.
Back in 2019 we embarked on our journey as a whole company to help get people talking about mental health in the workplace.
This journey started on Thursday 10th October 2019, World Mental Health Day, when all employees arrived at work to find a small gift on their desk.
The goodie bag contained a gym pass for Fareham Leisure Centre, detox tea bags, self-help guidebooks, MIND awareness cards and the Time To Talk well being-guide, as well as some perfume and aftershave samples, kindly donated by John Lewis.
Staff at Novatech also had the chance to speak to Fareham Leisure Centre staff, where they discussed the importance of exercise on both physical and mental health, and had the opportunity to take part in personal health checks.
Our commitment to getting people talking didn’t stop there though. Last week, 6 members of staff attended a two-day course to become qualified mental health first aiders.
The interactive two-day course was run by We Are Hummingbird, and provided our staff with the knowledge and tools to effectively address mental health in the workplace.
Covering all areas of mental health, from discrimination and injustice, right through to cognitive behavioural therapy and listening skills. As well as giving our first aiders the confidence and awareness for early intervention.
With statistics showing that 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental health problems at some point in their lives and stating that, on average, British citizens spend over 84,000 hours in the working environment, businesses need to step up and start supporting their employees.
Ian Hurst, Managing Director at We Are HummingbIrd Health commented about his time training our staff, saying,
“It is always an honour to be in a position where I can help educate and contribute to ending the stigma that still sadly surrounds mental illness. The team from Novatech really were a positive and engaged cohort, who are clearly motivated to create a safe, understanding and nurturing environment for employees.
Being armed now with the tools and skills to effectively spot the signs and with the confidence to signpost and provide assistance to those in distress, I am confident that they will see the benefits of the training almost instantly. We are Hummingbird aim to simplify what can be a clinical subject - we use clear language with appropriate 'lived experience' examples to really bring the learning to life. Keeping the training relevant and visual is something that is at the core of all we do, its vital for those being trained to feel connected to the subject and engaged. Working with forward-thinking companies such as Novtech makes this very achievable.”
Mental health in the workplace is such an important area for any business, which requires time and dedication. Mental ill-health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK and currently, 12.5 million working days are lost each year due to mental health issues.
At Novatech, we are on a journey to ensure we fully support and encourage our employees to look after their mental health and well-being, and remove any barriers to achieve this. We recently have introduced 3 additional short-notice annual leave days for our staff, meaning that, should an employee need time off, they can have it at a moment's notice.
As well as the additional annual leave, we are in the process of creating a “well-being room”, creating a safe, private space that staff can visit if they feel they need to take some time out.
Head Of Human Resources here at Novatech, Harriet Whitren-Jones has been the force behind this mission, commenting “As part of our well-being agenda, it’s critical for our success that we not only have mental health first aiders in the workplace, but that all of our people managers are trained, with the tools and confidence to be able to spot issues and address concerns early on...
...I think that for all of us here at Novatech, it’s a given that mental ill-health needs to be addressed, not just in the short-term, but the long-term too. It doesn’t just affect one individual - within a business, it affects us all. We want our employees to feel safe, not only among their peers, but within the workplace too. Our dedication represents our belief that mental health need not be stigmatised but embraced.”