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Mental Health Awareness Week – Combatting Loneliness 

Mental Health Awareness Week – Combatting Loneliness 
10 May 2022
 

The Mental Health Foundation started Mental Health Awareness Week 21 years ago, and it has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.

Research shows that the number of HR professionals who think that mental wellbeing is on the agenda of senior leaders has fallen in the past year.

One in four adults feels lonely some or all of the time. There’s no one single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, everyone is different. But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems.

 

Watch the Video

 


 

How Can We Tackle Loneliness at Work?

 

Alex Minett, Head of Products and Markets at CHAS looks at how employers can tackle this issue as part of the wider mental health agenda. Here is his advice:

“Organisations can start by looking at their wider wellbeing and mental health agenda especially when it comes to reducing stigmas and ensuring loneliness awareness is embedded in policies from the get-go. Recognising the triggers for loneliness, such as significant life events, health issues, workplace transitions, and the end of working life for those nearing retirement will enable employers to look at what support and advice they can offer and work together with employees to find a solution.

“The increase in home working and lone workers also puts the onus on employers to reduce the risk of an employee experiencing loneliness and isolation regardless of where they are based. Specific lone worker policies should seek to include recommendations on the amount of direct contact the employee needs to be having with their manager alongside guarantees to ensure inclusion in social events and work-related activities as well as training updates.

 

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“Mental health/loneliness champions or first aiders are good contact points for employees who may not feel able to approach line managers first. Specifically trained through nationally recognised courses, the mental health first aider (MHFA) can provide confidential advice or point employees in the direction of where to find it. Employers can also ensure that information on employee assistance programmes or helplines are widely publicised and displayed should workers prefer to seek more anonymous ways of accessing help.

“Toolbox talks are another way of delivering information to workforces, in this case by educating them on different types of mental health issues and simultaneously promoting open dialogue. In addition, awareness and training days for managers are helpful for them to gain a more in-depth understanding and recognise the signs in an employee who may be struggling.

"At the end of 2021, the HSE launched their Working Minds campaign to bring together a range of support tools and resources to help businesses encourage good mental health. As part of the campaign, HSE is reminding businesses that ‘no matter where people work, employers have a legal duty to assess the risks in the workplace, not just in terms of potential hazards and physical safety. They should also promote good working practices.’”

 

The Mental Health at Work Commitment

 

In support of Mental Health Awareness Week, Landmarc Support Services has signed the Mental Health at Work Commitment, curated by the Thriving at Work Leadership Council, Business in the Community (BITC) and mental health charity Mind, to demonstrate Landmarc’s commitment to developing a thriving and inclusive workplace environment.

In a survey of UK adults, conducted by Business in the Community in partnership with Bupa, only one in two UK employees say they feel comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace. Whilst two in five reports they had experienced a work-related mental health issue in the last year.

The overall number of people reporting mental health problems is ever-increasing, particularly in recent years. Yet despite this, approximately only one in eight adults with mental health problems are currently receiving any kind of treatment.

 

"With issues like stress, anxiety, and depression common across all employers, regardless of size or sector, we want to see every employer recognise and address any work-related causes of poor mental health among their staff."

–Andrew Berrie

National Lead, Mental Health at Work

 

By signing the Mental Health at Work Commitment, which provides a simple framework to help promote employee wellbeing, Landmarc has pledged to achieve better mental health outcomes for a genuine longer-term positive impact. All with the aim of creating a working environment where employees can thrive and communicate with confidence.

The framework sets out six clear standards. As part of these standards, Landmarc has pledged 25 actions, including always having over 100 mental health first aiders across the business and establishing a mental health peer support group via its employee communications app, Landmarc Connect.

Once signed, Landmarc has access to BITC mental health advisors and information from Mind to help get the very best out of the commitment, providing ideas and tools to get started and drive change.

Andrew Berrie, National Lead at Mental Health at Work, said: “We’re delighted to see Landmarc sign the Mental Health at Work Commitment. We know it can be hard to talk about mental health and seek support, which is why public commitments such as this one are so important. With issues like stress, anxiety, and depression common across all employers, regardless of size or sector, we want to see every employer recognise and address any work-related causes of poor mental health among their staff. It’s fantastic to see organisations like Landmarc taking the lead.”

Picture: a photograph of a person standing alone on a white background. The person’s shadow can also be seen Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 10 May 2022

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