Why keep doing the same old same old?

Of course ‘Mental Health’ isn’t such the taboo subject it was but there is still a huge social and self stigma fog to break down.

Back in 2017, the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, commissioned Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer (CEO of Mind) to investigate and report on mental health at work. This resulted in “Thriving at Work” published in October 2017.

Some of the key findings of this report were disturbing:

  • 300,000 lose their jobs each year due to mental ill health – far higher than the incidence of physical health
  • Around 15% of people at work have symptoms

Key recommendations from this report:

  • Produce, implement and communicate positive mental health in the workplace
  • Develop mental health awareness among staff
  • Encourage open conversations about mental health
  • Provide employees with work/life balance options
  • Routinely monitor employee wellbeing

More ambitious ‘enhanced’ standards from this report include:

  • Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting
  • Demonstrate accountability
  • Improve the disclosure process
  • Ensure provision of tailored inhouse mental health support and signposting to clinical help

At the time of this report only 11% of employees discussed a recent mental health problem with their line manager – meaning 89% did not feel able to disclose. In addition at the time of this report in 2017 only 11% of the Top 100 companies disclose their initiatives in their annual reports.

Only 24% of managers in 2017 received some form of training in mental health at work.

4 years later – has anything changed?

That’s what I keep asking myself. On the surface, businesses seem to feel they’ve done all that they can. They’ve usually rolled out MHFA training, assigned some people who’ve done MHFA training as ‘First Aiders’ to their peers who might be struggling. Is that effective? Is it enough?

I don’t think so. Businesses need to think about what their business and staff need to really thrive not just do a tick in the box training exercise with a proven reactive programme like MHFA just because it’s the most well known.

MHFA is an excellent programme for those interested in the subject area. It teaches in-depth information on mental health conditions, legislation and how to support, listen and signpost someone once they have experienced an issue. Devised by Betty Kitchener, a mental health nurse in Australia, and her partner Professor Anthony Jorm. With a global reach, it has become the go to product for businesses to deliver mental health training – but it was not designed for the workplace!

Selecting a unique, accredited programme like I-act, specifically written for the workplace and accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists with over 50 self care tools, guidance on how to build a mentally positive and healthy workplace as well as evaluation and development tools for those doing the training to support others – makes more sense. Cost effective and efficient.

Maybe if more employers choose to build a select menu of options for resilience, wellbeing, and positive mental health for their business and staff – the stats will be much better in another four years.

Or will we continue to kick the can down the road? Businesses are not the same. Why select the same training as your competitors when your business is different? Isn’t it better to lead than follow?

At Jane James’s Consultancy Ltd, we deliver the I-act training for managers and non-managers along with devising bespoke bolt ons to meet staff and business needs. Financial awareness, self-employment, team empowerment, financial awareness, know your purpose, what’s your journey – and many more. Financial awareness for staff is a key point in the new international guidelines ISO45003.

If you want to ensure your business and staff are thriving, why not get in touch to discuss options?

Workplace Managing Positive Mental Health & Wellbeing

Unfortunately, five planned delegates, couldn’t make the session, so we commenced with a bespoke, niche group of five managers from officers throughout the UK. It always amazes me how interactive and powerful delivering training virtually is. Experience and knowledge shared.

The course is packed with over 50 self-help tools which can be used to support others as well.

Facts, figures, signpost, tools – every possible area of wellness and resilience in the workplace is covered in this.

“I’ve learned so many tools I can use to help others”, shared Paul at the end of the session.

It’s empowering to me as an Instructor to see delegates so empowered with information, tools and confidence to use.

Green gold or green despair?

I’ve always liked a smashed ripe Avocado with some chilli flakes and squeeze of fresh lime on some toast – not necessarily sourdough!

However, after watching a short feature on Al Jazeera TV I might need to re-think food choices in solidarity with the village residents of Chile!

We are lucky to take safe drinking water as a human right in most parts of the world. Turn on the tap and there it is. We don’t think about it.

In some countries, water is naturally a scare resource. People are brought up to not squander it so there is enough for everyone.

Water Aid and many other charities have done amazing work ensuring unique water wells linked to children’s playgrounds to make fresh, safe drinking water from a well available and accessible to all.

But what struck me about the feature on Al Jazeera was water is not seen as a human right in Chile! Just let that sink in for a moment.

Instead, following privatisation in the early 80’s water is seen as a commodity to be brought, sold and even left in wills. Added to this the fact shared by Reuters that Chile is the third biggest producer of Avacados which take 1,000 litres of water to grow just 1 kilo! The mind boggles. How many kilos do families get through worldwide a day?

The residents of local villages have very limited access to water putting at risk their mental and physical health as well as their children’s.

It’s well documented how essential it is to stay hydrated. In the UK 6-8 glasses of water are recommended to be consumed each day. Elsewhere on internet search it varies around 2 litres

An activist group – Modatima – is trying to change the law to make access to fresh drinking water a right for all not just the few in Chile. One of their lead activists, Rodrigo Mundaca, has received death threats and regular harassment from the authorities. Rodrigo has even come under the protection of Amnesty International.

It seems unbelievable that we consume food without thinking about the possible impact on those living in the country that produced it.

What can we do? Rethink the impact on others of the food we choose to eat maybe?