Health commissioners across Stafford and Cannock have taken positive steps to increase awareness of mental health issues in the workplace by signing up to the national Mindful Employer initiative.
Stafford and Surrounds and Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have signed the Charter for Employers who are Positive About Mental Health, a formal declaration of the CCGs' commitment to the wellbeing of their staff.
The charter is one element of the voluntary Mindful Employer initiative, which is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health in the workplace and supporting businesses in recruiting and retaining staff.
Mindful Employer helps businesses and organisations to show that they are committed to creating a healthier workplace and to practicing corporate social responsibility. It is also designed to reduce staff and training costs, reduce sickness absence, enhance customer service and improve productivity.
Ian Baines, Director of Organisational Development, said that the CCGs realised the importance of staff being supported at work and were committed to creating a non-judgemental and positive environment. The CCGs' HR team is also ensuring that resources are available to all staff to encourage them to look after their mental health, and to promote a mindful approach to work.
Ian said: “Becoming a Mindful Employer is a significant step towards increasing awareness of mental health within our workplace. One in four people experiences mental illness at some point in their lives, and they can feel lonely and isolated. As a result, it is very important that our staff feel supported and know help is available to them should they need it.
“We want to overcome the stigma which can be caused by mental health issues and to encourage members of staff to talk more openly. We hope that by signing this charter we can get those discussions going.”
He added that the CCGs would also be looking at starting mental wellbeing training for members of staff.
South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG signed up to the charter 12 months ago and has promoted metal wellbeing with staff, partners and providers. Parity of esteem with mental health has been particularly important – the ‘Buddies’ project in Lichfield and Burntwood offers specialised psychological support to mums and dads following the birth of a child and Cruse supports the recently bereaved. Both projects have had a positive mental health and wellbeing focus.
The CCGs are also working alongside South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust to look at equalities and health inequalities in services from a mental wellbeing perspective in order to make future improvements to services. Being part of the Mindful Employer initiative has really helped to focus on mental health and wellbeing.
For more information about the Mindful Employer initiative visit www.mindfulemployer.net