Employers see mental health as a workplace issue.
And for good reason. Poor mental health cost UK businesses £43 billion a year, according to research from Deloitte.
That’s why mental health is often included in staff wellbeing programmes. That can mean anything from on-site yoga sessions to flexible working policies.
Here are three companies who found different, creative ways to support good mental health.
A flair for the dramatic – BAE Systems
With 34,000 employees in the UK, BAE Systems wanted to address mental health in a meaningful way.
It partnered with a professional drama organisation to create a one-day interactive theatre activity.
Under the guidance of medical professionals, staff acted out real scenarios. They learned to recognise symptoms of mental health in others, and even in themselves.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
One staff member said: ‘What an incredible day it was yesterday and perhaps the best course I have ever been on. It is clearly changing the mindset of some of the employees who do not understand mental health.’
‘It was a brilliant session and confirmed to me that BAE really does have a handle on treating (and caring about) mental health correctly.’
Several commented that attending the session potentially saved their lives.
As a result of feedback, further training has been given to 50 staff who are now Mental Health First Aiders.
Riding the ups and downs – Snow-Camp, a snow sports charity
Snow-Camp helps at-risk youth to gain leadership skills and recognised qualifications through snow sports.
It was started by a youth worker after he saw young people playing a snowboarding video game. One said it was the closest they would ever get to the mountain.
The worker realised that inner-city youth would greatly benefit from gaining new skills and getting into a fresh environment.
And the programme is a huge success. More than 10,000 young people have taken part since 2003. However, participants said they needed more mental health support.
So the charity created Uplift – a series of workshops that run alongside the sports training.
The youth get to build skills on the slopes and in the classroom with topics like healthy relationships, coping mechanisms, and self-esteem.
As one participant said, ‘Thanks to Uplift I feel like I’m back in control of my health and because of this I’m now back in control of my life, which is a great feeling.’
Caring with dignity – Home Instead Senior Care
Home Instead Senior Care has a hugely important role: offering care and support sometimes in the final days of someone’s life.
Staff are given extensive training on how to help their clients feel comfortable and safe. However, they had little training on how to take care of their own mental health.
They also had concerns on how to help their clients’ family members during such a sensitive and challenging time.
Since the company couldn’t find suitable training, it developed its own.
The five 3-hour modules are interactive and offer the chance for staff to raise any questions or concerns in real time.
As a result, the organisation has improved staff turnover. More important than that is the positive feedback they receive from staff.
One participant said, ‘I’m definitely more confident in my role as caregiver now.’