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Thriving workplaces in Lancashire – starting a conversation about mental health

World Mental Health day

Employers have a duty of care for their greatest assets, their employees. World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for everyone to be more open about mental health, whether you work with 10 people, 10,000 people or just yourself.

It's important to talk, listen and make an impact on the lives of those around us. Running a business, having a job and working can help us feel a sense of achievement and belonging. It helps us to be part of something and then there are the obvious financial benefits to both the business and the employee. Everyone has mental health and sometimes, as with physical health, it can become unwell.

There are lots of reasons why this can happen, for example, life events such as caring for children or older relatives, pressures of work, financial worries and bereavement. Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1035 per employee per year.

With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem each year it's very common to need some support at some point in our lives. Finding out what is available to help you to help yourself or to support others at these challenging times is not always easy.

Lancashire County Council has made a start in making this easier and as part of the national Every Mind Matters campaign has gathered some useful local resources and practical support to help your workplace, your employees and your managers cope when a helping hand is needed. It includes digital apps, online support and service information.

Lancashire County Council, alongside other employers in Lancashire, has signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge to tackle stigma and discrimination and to develop a culture where employees feel able to talk openly about their mental health problems. The Pledge is free to sign up to too. In Lancashire, we are also fortunate to have major employers like Barclays and British Aerospace committed to This is Me, a free business-led mental health resource for employers to access support materials and good practice for their workplace.

This is a pioneering campaign which encourages employers to share their employees' lived experiences about mental health. It believes in the ability to use storytelling to change the culture around mental health.

The evidence is compelling. Whatever your size of business, Mental Health at Work has collected together some sets of resources to give you a good introduction to many of the key areas of workplace mental health. It is a good first stop to find documents, guides, tips, videos, courses, podcasts, templates and information from key organisations across the UK, all aimed at helping you get to grips with workplace mental health.

 Written by Andrea Smith, public health specialist, Lancashire County Council

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