Saturday 10th October marks the annual occurrence of World Mental Health Day, a day to bring the nation together to break the silence around mental health.
This year's World Mental Health Day comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the pandemic.
In 2013, depression was the second leading cause of people living with a disability in the UK just behind lower back. In 26 countries worldwide depression was the primary driver of disability. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year. With numbers on the rise it is more important than ever to support our friends, families and work colleagues to break the stigma around mental health.
For us here at Novatech Ltd, it is much more than one day a year where they talk about mental health and raise awareness. We embarked on our journey to promoting mental health in the workplace in early 2019. Now over a year since that journey started the company has invested in training 10% of our workforce to become mental health first aiders.
We now have 9 members of staff trained in mental health first aid, the training was an interactive two-day course run by We Are Hummingbird that provided our staff with the knowledge and tools to effectively address mental health in the workplace.
Stacey commented about her mental health training “The course has given me a much greater understanding of various mental health illnesses, and reinforced how important it is to be able to support people by looking at things from their perspective.”
Another member of staff at Novatech, Steve told us “I wanted to be a mental health first aider due to my own personal experiences, so I was thrilled when Novaetch asked me if i wanted to take part in the course.”
Here at Novatech we have recently partnered with local mental health charity Solent Mind.
The partnership between usand Solent Mind was an employee lead decision, where we have raised over £300 in just a few weeks through staff completing the Best Companies engagement survey.
Solent Mind is a local charity supporting those with mental health issues. Our staff made the decision they wanted to support a charity local to their head office in Portsmouth which employees, friends or family members may use and benefit from.
Earlier this year we also introduced three additional short notice annual leave days meaning that should an employee need time off, they can have it approved at a moment’s notice, Throughout the pandemic we have been encouraging staff to manage a good work and life balance encouraging staff to take annual leave to spend time with their families in these uncertain times.
While staff have been working remotely our managers have tried to ensure that the team remained as one by organising virtual social events to help keep people connected and assure no one felt isolated during this difficult time.
In addition to this we have been doing weekly wellbeing bulletins, still celebrating national wellbeing days, i.e. Cycle to work day where we encouraged people to get on their bikes, wherever they were. It's a known fact that Physical health problems significantly increase the risk of poor mental health, and vice versa. Around 30%of all people with a long-term physical health condition also have a mental health problem, most commonly depression and anxiety so by encouraging our staff to get fit and active we are reducing the risk of mental health problems within the workforce.
Along with having trained mental health first aiders, we have also launched a mental health email address where employees can confidently message if they feel they need support but are too nervous to call someone.
Head Of Human Resources at Novatech, Lyndsay told us “it is always presumed when you work in HR you know exactly what to say or do when it comes to staff struggling. I have worried many times if I have said or done the right thing to support the staff. The mental health first aider training has given me greater confidence in the support I am giving, as well giving me a better understanding about mental health conditions and how to direct people to the right support.”