Businesses across Staffordshire are being encouraged to support World Mental Health Day on October 10 by offering staff workshops and counselling sessions.
This year’s theme is Workplace Wellbeing, and Working Minds, part of North Staffs Mind, is offering a range of support options for businesses and their employees.
One in four people struggle with their mental wellbeing and research indicates that early intervention counselling can reduce staff absence rates by 35 per cent. Around 40 per cent of work days lost in the UK each year is due to a mental wellbeing-related issue.
Working Minds counselling sessions aim to: increase productivity and motivation, improve mental wellbeing, reduce absenteeism, increase staff retention and speed up the return to work following mental health illness.
Sessions are staffed by qualified and experienced counsellors. Diane Collingwood, counselling services manager at the Hanley HQ, said: “Working Minds is still a project in its infancy, however, we have seen about 115 people so far; employees struggling with stresses and strains of various sorts, both work and personal life-related. Working Minds enables small businesses to offer fast, accessible counselling for their staff at a very reasonable price.
“The main mental health issues employees find themselves coping with include depression, anxiety and stress. We know many people are struggling with their mental health and this is on the increase.
Pictured from left: Vikki Kent, Working Minds Co-ordinator, Kath Brown, Counsellor, Billy Greenish, Senior Counsellor and Diane Collingwood, Counselling Services Manager.
“Problems at home can affect the work environment and issues at work can affect home life. By talking to someone, staff are able to understand what’s going on. But some are still reluctant to say they have a mental health issue and they struggle with it for a long time before it overspills.”
The Working Minds team offers impartial support and a confidential space for an employee to begin to process thoughts and feelings, safe in the knowledge that the information shared will be at the individual’s discretion and not divulged to others.
Employees can self-refer to the charity’s services via email, or a manager or HR can submit a referral on their behalf.
Ms Collingwood added: “As well as Working Minds, North Staffs Mind also offers training sessions, which can help staff identify the symptoms and be confident in talking about mental health.”