Leading law firm Blake Morgan is calling for companies to put greater emphasis on mental health and well-being in the workplace following the success its own programme is having on employee welfare.
The call comes at the start of the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 (14 – 20 May) which aims to raise the profile of mental health conditions across the UK – and how individuals and companies can tackle conditions that range from anxiety to depression. This year the focus is on workplace stress and what companies and employees can do to tackle a growing issue facing many people.
Last year, Blake Morgan launched a new mental health first aider programme designed to provide employees with access to trained members of the team who can identify and act on the signs of mental ill health. According to Mind around one in four people is likely to experience a mental health issue this year and almost three quarters of us suffer from stress. Blake Morgan was keen to tackle immediate needs for support and remove some of the taboos associated with mental health conditions. A year on, Blake Morgan now has a mental health first aider in every office, and they are advertised and signposted in the same way as physical first aiders.
Through the provision of mental health first aiders, Blake Morgan worked extensively to promote well-being in the workplace and encourage greater awareness of mental and physical health. Alongside the mental health first aiders, the firm has also worked to introduce workplace training to help employees spot the signs of stress in colleagues and give people funded access to extra-curricular mental health awareness certificates. There is an employee assistance programme (EAP) which provides a 24/7 helpline employees can call to talk to someone, and face-to-face counselling. The firm has also been experimenting with lunchtime yoga sessions and access to mindfulness resources.
Richard Wade, partner at Blake Morgan and a trained mental health first aider, said: “Healthy and motivated people are the bedrock of any business and essential to an organisation’s success, so it’s important we – and other UK businesses – invest in schemes that improve employee well-being.
“Our mental health first aiders have been fantastic in helping to normalise the conversation around mental health as well as getting employees to keep an eye out for signs of stress in their colleagues. And while they’re also a bit of fun, lunchtime yoga sessions show that doing things a little differently can break down barriers, improve health – and needn’t be difficult, expensive or time consuming to introduce. Importantly though, we believe a healthy workforce will be more productive, happier and – ultimately – is good for the health of the business too.”