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Encouraged by growing industry support for prioritising mental health in the workplace, Mates in Mind renews its call to industry leaders to take a joined-up approach to addressing mental health. This approach will ensure that managers are properly equipped and confident to support conversations about mental health, alongside wider organisational support and understanding.
Whilst acknowledging that tackling the complex challenge of mental ill-health is an item which has moved up the UK political and board room agenda, Mates in Mind believes more needs to be done to transform existing workplace mental health cultures.
Mates in Mind is pleased to witness the positive impacts of initial steps being taken towards improving mental health. A report published by YouGov last year found that 60 per cent of employees feel their line manager is genuinely concerned for their wellbeing (compared to 55 per cent in 2016), and 45 per cent of employees believe that their organisation does well in supporting those with mental health issues (40 per cent in 2016) .
However, Mates in Mind also acknowledges that mental ill-health still poses a persistent challenge to UK workforces, with HSE reporting that in 2017/18 there were 15.4 million working days lost as a result of work-related stress anxiety or depression. This equates to 57.3 per cent of the 26.8 million work days lost to ill health . Therefore, Mates in Mind calls on industry leaders to adopt a ‘Whole Organisation’ and ‘Whole Person’ approach that will benefit both the individual as well as the wider business.
In advance of the national Time to Talk Day, James Rudoni, Managing Director of Mates at Mind said:
“At Mates in Mind, we believe that the value of being able to support starting a conversation at work can never be underestimated. We also believe that this should be seen as part of a long-lasting transformation of workplace mental health, through which organisations can go beyond tackling a crisis of mental ill-health and act to prevent it in the first instance. As a result, we believe addressing mental health in the workplace is underpinned by both a strong moral as well as business case.
“We are delighted to have more than 200 Business Supporters and Partners, reaching out through them to more than 187,500 individual workers, helping to improve awareness and create safe environments in which such conversations can take place.
“We continue to encourage business leaders not only to take the time to start the conversation in their workplaces, but also ask them to recognise this as a true investment in their people and their business overall. As a result, we stress the importance of taking a joined-up approach and importantly supporting their managers to help facilitate such conversations. After all, managers are a reflection of their business’ priorities and values and therefore need to be able to demonstrate that their businesses are serious about their people’s health and wellbeing.”
“Mates in Mind has always advocated an approach that includes developing awareness and skills for those managing people within workplaces, to whom many employees are likely to turn to when they need to start a conversation about their mental health. We welcome the opportunity to work with others across all industries and encourage them to reach out to us.”
The Mates in Mind support programme offers a wide range of services that enable businesses of any size to promote positive mental health in the workplace, equip staff at all levels to support colleagues through the Start the Conversation training. Contact Mates in Mind and become part of the change that is needed in your business.
Mates in Mind believes business leaders are in a good position to address mental health in the workplace, but encourages them to consider that delivering meaningful change to their workforces should be effectively aligned to their business priorities.
Mates in Mind were encouraged by the level of engagement driven by the debate last week in the House of Commons for increased mental health awareness at work, led by Luciana Berger MP, Johnny Mercer MP and Norman Lamb MP. We would like to thank those MPs who highlighted the work of our charity, Mates in Mind, and that of our Business Champions and Supporters from across construction and related sectors.
Mates in Mind believes more must be done to achieve a fundamental change to workplace mental wellbeing, as the impact that mental ill-health poses UK workplaces is both incredibly widespread and complex. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2017/18 there were 15.4 million working days lost as a result of work-related stress anxiety or depression, up from 12.5 million in the previous year. This equates to 57.3 per cent of the 26.8 million work days lost to ill health.
Mates in Mind now seeks to act upon the important items added to the political agenda during last week’s debate, appealing to leaders across UK’s industries to take note of the growing evidence of need, and also the means by which to take action. This includes the standards recommended by the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers published in October 2017.
The report identified six core standards that could apply to all workplaces regardless of size:
Using such measures, as detailed within the ‘Thriving at Work’ report, and working in collaboration with industry partners, Mates in Mind has developed their mental health programme which embodies the principle that there is no health without mental health. We can therefore offer our support to industry leaders to develop a positive mental wellbeing environment and drive a meaningful shift in workforce cultures across the UK.
In response to the debate, James Rudoni, Managing Director of Mates at Mind said: “At Mates in Mind, we believe in a long-lasting transformation of workplace mental health, through which organisations can go beyond tackling a crisis of mental ill-health and act to prevent it in the first instance.
In this way Mates in Mind affirms the position taken by Minister Norman Lamb in that a ‘fundamental point is that the approach we should be taking is about preventing ill health in the workplace’. Therefore, while we celebrate the actions being taken to move mental health up the government agenda, and the legislative changes that could develop from the debate, we will continue to work with our industry partners to strive for the transformation of workplace culture.
Mates in Mind
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Welcoming our new Managing Director: James Rudoni
Steve Hails, Chair of Trustees of Mates in Mind, said: “The Trustees welcome James Rudoni to the charity as Managing Director this month and look forward to working with him and the team. We believe James’s experience and insight will be of great value to Mates in Mind as it continues to grow in support of the industry’s recognition of the imperative to address mental health and wellbeing given the higher rates of suicide amongst construction workers and finishing trades.
“Mates in Mind, as a new industry charity, has been a real success over its first year thanks to key people behind it. In this period, our message has reached almost 200,000 workers through our more than 175 Supporter and partner organisations. But with the industry employing more than 2 million, we still have some way to go.
“James has a successful track record of delivering strategic objectives, operational leadership and service innovation within the commercial and charity sectors. He was previously Director of RBLI Living, Royal British Legion Industries during which time he doubled the reach to beneficiaries, delivered RBLI’s first national charitable training programme which resulted in 83% of beneficiaries getting into sustained employment and created a welfare support model which offered a tailored programme of assistance to help the hardest-to-help into housing, healthcare, wellbeing and employment.”
In his first week with the charity, James said: “The work that Mates in Mind has done in year one, has been hugely impressive and is already having a significant impact in improving understanding of mental health and wellbeing across the construction Industry. I am delighted to join Mates in Mind at such an exciting time and I am looking forward to working with the Trustees and my colleagues, as well as our Mates in Mind Business Champions, partnering organisations and our many Supporters across the UK.
“It is clear that this charity has given many in the industry a voice. I look forward to taking our vision forward to ensure that by supporting organisations across the construction sector, we can bring about the change needed to promote the importance of proactive mental health management in the workplace.”