10th October marks World Mental Health Day, and while awareness of the issue has improved in recent years, we’re also seeing a surge in the severity and scale of mental health problems across the UK.
The pandemic has of course been a major contributor to the problem. But a constant factor too is the workplace. Between 2019-2020, over 828,000 workers were suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, according to the Health and Safety Executive. This represents 2,440 per 100,000 workers and results in an estimated 17.9 million working days lost. A survey conducted pre-pandemic revealed six out of ten construction workers had suffered mental ill health because of their work.
The time to change this is long overdue.
What are we doing to improve employee mental health?
At BGES Group, the mental and physical wellbeing of our employees is something we take very seriously. We’ve engaged with all staff to understand what we can do better to ensure they are happy and productive, including providing external support for mental wellbeing.
Following a staff satisfaction survey last year, we identified that there was a need for us to offer a health and wellbeing package as part of our employee benefits. So, we employed the services of Westfield Health and now offer every employee the Westfield Health Chamber Health Care Plan, which provides cashback for routine medical appointments such as dentist, consultations, occupational therapist and opticians.
The plan also includes a 24-hour advice and information line, so staff can pick up the phone at any time and talk in confidence to a trained operator for health and wellbeing advice, including direct access to one-to-one counselling sessions. There’s a 24/7 GP access scheme too, where employees can request a call back or webcam consultation from a practising UK GP, day or night.
Of course, it’s not just about providing external support, it’s looking at what we do internally, day to day to improve staff wellbeing. We are committed to looking after our people and we work hard to maintain a culture that supports good mental and physical health.
It’s about keeping an open-door policy and open mind. It’s about reminding staff that we are here to talk to, and that we’ll support them as much as possible when they need it, with no risk of feeling judged. We’re always looking to see how we can improve, so we monitor employee wellbeing via regular satisfaction surveys and one to ones.
This Mental Health Day, we’re calling on all workplaces to step up to the challenge. We all have mental health and 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind, every year. Let’s end the stigma and be part of the solution for a happy, healthy workplace.