Anglian water has launched a new campaign to increase awareness of mental health conditions in the workplace, it was announced.
The campaign is setting out to teach its 4000 employees how to spot the signs that a colleague or family member may be suffering from a mental health condition, and what to do if they believe they need help themselves. In these situations, there are different options colleagues can consider such as exploring the option of mental health support housing to improve the quality of life of those who have a mental health condition. This is just one example, there are many different ways in which campaigns like this one can help and reach out to those in need. Another example also be promoting organizations similar to Recovery Village that help those who are worried about their mental health, giving them a place to find solace and help.
Anglian Water’s Get Active campaign, as it is called, is not just focusing on mental health but on all aspects of health and well-being, such as fitness, nutrition and positive emotional health. The campaign runs annually and will pay special attention to a different topic each year. For 2014, the topic is mental health and its impact on sufferers’ lives.
Sally Purbrick, head of reward at Anglian Water, said:
“For us, stress and depression are the main reasons for absence and, as part of our health and well-being campaign, we recognise this.”
The company published a video on its staff intranet in May that included viewpoints on handling mental health from medical professionals, healthcare provider Alliance Surgical, Anglian Water directors and some of the company’s own employees. Purbrick explained that the aim of the video was to “humanise the stigma around mental health”, making employees aware that it is “not something [they] should shy away from”.
As well as the campaign, employees at Anglian Water are also provided with a fully funded healthcare trust and an employee assistance programme. The company takes the health and well-being of its staff very seriously and the annual Get Active campaign is just one example of this.
One of the key obstacles to providing mental health support is teaching employers and staff that mental illnesses require just as much time and attention and physical illnesses. Providing adequate communication channels by which sufferers and their colleagues can express their concerns is also crucial to supply the help that is needed.
Besides Anglian Water, several other companies are stepping up to the mark and doing their bit for victims of mental health. In April, BT, Mars and RBS made a joint pledge to tackle mental health in the workplace as part of a campaign launched by Business in the Community (BITC). The organisation published a report that said the silence surrounding mental health is ‘stifling UK organisations’ productivity and competitiveness’. It also outlined the benefits available for companies who take active measures to engage with mental well-being.
By following the lead of larger employers and corporate companies, it is hoped a positive approach to mental health will filter down through the business world into medium and small businesses as well.