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Healthy Working Lives (HWL) and IOSH worked together this year with over 60 businesses to make mental health and wellbeing a priority.
Mental health problems continue to be the biggest cause of long term sickness absence in the U.K. This project aimed to train mangers so they were equipped to reduce this statistic and keep their workforce mentally healthy.
The programme provides the skills, knowledge and resources to deliver comprehensive training and support on mental health in their workplaces.
Three of the organisations – Guala Closures, Standard Life and West Lothian Council – have shared their experiences of Train 2015 so that others can see the potential benefits of signing up and rolling out the programme in their workplaces. The three organisations, which are drawn from the manufacturing, financial services and local authority sectors, range in size from just under 200 employees to several thousands.
The primary reason for all three organisations to participate in Train 2015 was the level of sickness absence attributed to mental ill health. While the organisations are understandably reluctant to publicise detailed data, mental ill health was one of their three largest causes of absence, with long-term sickness a particular issue.
Gaining support from senior managers to implement Train 2015 was straightforward and easy. The senior managers were already aware both of the need to tackle absence that was related to mental ill health and also of the benefits of HWL participation. Furthermore, participation in Train 2015 formed part of wider wellbeing and people strategies, with which the senior managers were already engaged.
The workplace rollouts to managers largely followed the HWL approach, although all three organisations valued the flexibility that allowed them to tweak the delivery in terms of content and structure. The adjustments included the addition of local case studies and incorporation of business context, as well as the substitution of a module. Structurally, all said it could be difficult for managers to take a whole day off, which had resulted in two organisations reducing the duration of the training, while the third ran the course over two half-days.
Although it is too early to evaluate fully the long-term benefits of the rollouts, the immediate feedback has been remarkably positive. Following their training, most managers said they felt sufficiently knowledgeable and confident to recognise the signs of mental ill health and intervene in an appropriate way. Such feedback came from pre-and post-training questionnaires and conversations.
There is also some anecdotal evidence to indicate that the training is having an impact, with some managers initiating conversations with their staff, and at least one instance of the training helping a manager deal with an actual case. Embarking on Train 2015 has also led to further initiatives such as resilience training and awareness sessions for all staff. In addition, at least two of the organisations are thinking, at some point, of using the Train 2015 materials as the basis of an E-learning course for their staff.
For more information on the training available to your business call the the Adviceline on 0800 019 2211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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