At Leeds Trinity University, we're committed to ensuring everyone in our community feels supported and valued, and we have recently become a Chartered Mindful Employer, in partnership with Mindful Employer Leeds.
Working with Mindful Employer gives us access to timely and local support for staff during sickness absences, stress management workshops, wellbeing sessions and management training. The organisation offers advice on good practice around mental health in the workplace and their leading partner in Leeds is mental health charity Mind.
Below, the Mindful Employer Coordinator for Leeds discusses the resources and information available for people requiring support with their mental health, and the initiatives set up in the workplace.
Everyone has mental health, in the same way that we all have physical health. At times we can struggle to maintain good physical health due to different reasons, such as being too busy and tired to fit in a trip to the gym, or to cook dinner so we order a takeaway. Similarly, we have to work at maintaining good mental health when certain factors might make this a challenge.
The workplace can often be an environment of high pressure and stress with impending deadlines and targets, and this can be a contributing factor to mental ill health. A high-pressured working atmosphere can also be a barrier to accessing the right support from employers. Therefore, it is important for organisations to work to break down the barriers which prevent people from accessing the mental health and wellbeing support that they need.
Mindful Employer is a national initiative which provides businesses and organisations with easier access to information and support for staff who experience mental health difficulties. In Leeds there is a strong local network of employers, with over 400 organisations currently engaged with the network, who are supported by the local Mindful Employer Coordinator to share good practice in creating mentally healthy workplaces. The Leeds network is connected through a monthly newsletter, quarterly network events and the support of the local Coordinator.
In Leeds, the network believes that good mental health in the workplace helps everyone, no matter what position they may be in within an organisation. Therefore, locally the 10 Steps Toolkit has been created to enable employers to embed better mental health awareness and support in their workplaces.
The10 Steps Toolkit, developed in Leeds by employers for employers, is a perfect starting point for organisations to embed good practice and keep the mental health and wellbeing conversation going. It is a free online resource designed to help employers develop ideas on creating positive working environments, supporting employee wellbeing and challenging stigma surrounding mentally ill health in the workplace. It provides suggested actions, case studies and links to resources which will help you to work towards achieving an open and positive culture towards mental health in your organisation. Many of the actions are good business practice backed up by an increased understanding of mental health in the workplace.
The 10 Steps are divided into three sections which encourage employers to focus on engaging staff on the issue of wellbeing in the workplace, educating your managers and wider workforce about mental health awareness and embedding good practice and the right support processes. This resource reinforces the importance of including staff from all levels of the organisation when creating and implementing your mental health and wellbeing strategy, the need for relevant training and having a clear zero tolerance approach to discrimination in the workplace.
It does pay to be positive about mental health at work and employers who get this right can expect to see reduced absenteeism, reduced presenteeism, better job retention and an enhanced reputation in their workplace.
For more information on implementing the 10 Steps Toolkit in your workplace and the local network please get in touch with the Leeds-based Mindful Employer Coordinator. You can access the 10 Steps Toolkit online.