Mental health, and more specifically how people cope with mental health issues, is a growing concern for the UK government and employers. Research by mental health charity Mind has identified that each year approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. Mind goes on to explain: “how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing”.
In 2017, Prime Minister Teresa May tasked Lord Dennis Stevenson and the former CEO of Mind, Paul Farmer, to create a report on mental health at work. The report revealed the severe extent of the mental health issues in the UK, which was much higher than anticipated. It stressed the need for employers to do more for their staff’s wellbeing. The report proposed that in 10 years’ time, organisations of every size should be equipped with the awareness and tools to support workers with a mental health condition and prevent it from being worsened by work.
Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and takes place from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May 2019. Capital marked the occasion with a series of activities promoting mental wellbeing and raising awareness around mental health.
Capital partnered with Mental Health training provider In-Equilibrium to deliver training sessions to employees and develop policies to support the mental health of clients and employees.
The training sessions were focussed on helping employees recognise symptoms and care for their own and their colleagues’ mental health. The sessions also covered best practice policies to safeguard mental wellbeing and how to support employees with mental health challenges. This will be used to help direct companywide initiatives and the development of policies around mental health.
In-Equilibrium also worked with the team at Capital to equip them with the essential skills to meet the needs of clients facing mental health challenges. The staff were taught the signs and symptoms to look out for and how to support and serve these clients, as well as reviewing policies in place for those with mental health difficulties
Capital’s culture is focused on promoting staff wellbeing and balance through flexible working options, private medical insurance, company day trips and socials, participating in health initiatives, and benefits, including gym discounts. However, we recognise that mental health is an essential part of wellbeing and an area where we have the scope to make a positive difference to our team’s wellbeing. Our new policies will reflect and acknowledge mental health difficulties in the same way as physical health, and support employees with mental health issues based on their individual needs.
Chirine Harb, our Head of Operations at Capital, explains: “At Capital, we understand that mental health challenges and stress can affect anyone, at any time. By equipping our staff to care for and cope with mental health issues, Capital hopes to improve our staff’s overall wellbeing, whilst cultivating a mindful, supportive and balanced culture and removing any stigma around mental health”.
Alongside the training sessions, Capital hosted an afternoon tea and talk to encourage employees to take a break from their work, relax and talk, as well as creating a pop-up mindful room, filled with mindful and sensory activities for the team to engage in.
To show our commitment to supporting mental health long-term, Capital will be signing the Time to Change Employer Pledge. Currently, over 900 employers in England across all sectors from FTSE 100 companies and leading retailers to Government departments and local authorities have also made the pledge.
We aspire to have a positive impact on our employees’ and clients’ mental wellbeing through our mental health initiatives. We will be continuing to improve in this area in the future. If you have any ideas or feedback on how we can achieve this, we would love to hear from you. Please send these to our head of operations, Chirine Harb.