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Challenging mental health stigma in the office

Following the recent viral tweet about mental health, I wondered what Exterion Media are doing about mental health. The answer made me feel exceedingly proud

Research from MIND, the mental health charity, confirms that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers:

  • More than one in five (21 per cent) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them

  • 14 per cent agreed that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them

  • 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’

  • 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel they have the right training or guidance

At Exterion Media, we believe that having a conversation about mental health does not need to be difficult. To that end, we have spent the first 6 months of 2017 focussing on mental health. We have, with our fantastic and experienced trainer Steve Metcalf from Robustmind Mental Fitness, trained over 150 employees using the Mental Health First Aid Awareness course from MHFA England. We have 12 fully qualified Mental Health First Aiders and 1 person qualified in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). In the second 6 months of the year and by the end of 2017, we will have 275 employees MHFA aware, 24 fully qualified mental health first aiders and 19 ASIST qualified. We will continue our mental health journey this year by taking part in World Suicide Prevention day, World Mental Health day and National Stress Awareness day. 

Mental Health First Aid courses equip course attendees with the skills to better manage their own mental wellbeing – that’s according to a recent survey by MHFA England of over 1,785 course attendees and instructors. The survey found that over 80% of respondents now felt better able to manage their own mental health and wellbeing. We believe that Exterion Media’s effort is industry leading in the field of mental health and the workplace. By the end of the year, we will have trained nearly 80% of our entire workforce to be aware of not only their own, but their colleagues mental health. We are trying to end the stigma and make mental health an ordinary, everyday conversation. 

Written by Christopher Temmink, Employee Relations Manager at Exterion Media UK