A new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) campaign aims to help businesses support their employees’ mental health at work.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is today launching their ‘Working Minds’ campaign at its Health and Work Conference to tackle health- and stress-related issues at work.
According to HSE, mental health issues are the number one reason for sick days in the UK, with last year more than 17 million working days being lost as a result of stress, anxiety or depression.
A recent survey by the mental health charity Mind of 40,000 workers which found that the mental health of two in five had worsened during the pandemic.
HSE’s chief executive Sarah Albon says: “The pandemic has highlighted the need to protect the health of employees who have faced unprecedented challenges; the Government is committed to building back better and we want to make sure good mental health is central to this.”
The aim of the campaign is to help businesses recognise the signs of work-related stress. Albon says: “Our campaign is focused on giving employers a clear reminder of their duties while championing reducing work-related stress and promoting good mental health at work.”
The ‘Working minds’ campaign specifically aims to support small businesses and give simplified advice on how to implement mental health support, including simple steps in its ‘5 R’s’ to Reach out, Recognise, Respond, Reflect and make it Routine.
HSE has partnered with different organisations, including Mind, to spot “the triggers of stress, the legal duty of employers and how to manage the risks”.
Whilst ‘Working minds’ is specifically targeting six million workers in small businesses, HSE is pushing for a culture change in all workplaces across the country. They want companies to recognise the importance of assessing psychological and physical risks in different working environments.
“Work-related stress and poor mental health should be treated with the same significance as risks of poor physical health and injury. In terms of the affect it has on workers, significant and long-term stress can limit performance and impact personal lives,” says Albon.
HSE is also highlighting the importance of employers promoting good working practices. Indeed, this can lead to a more open environment for employees where they do can share their concerns.
Albon says: “No worker should suffer in silence and if we don’t act now to improve workers’ mental health, this could evolve into a health and safety crisis.”
* To learn more about the campaign click here.
** To read more about the pandemic’s impact on mental health click here.