Seminar highlights importance of workplace well-being

Sheffield solicitors Wake Smith is proactively working with a mental health charity to positively address workplace well-being for employers.

The leading law firm has teamed up with Derwent Rural Counselling Service to deliver the latest information about employee mental health and well-being at a September HR Forum.

DRCS assistant clinical lead Janette Smeeton and counsellor Jo Bailey will cover details on how employers can address prevention strategies including management communication and mindfulness programmes at the event at the AMP Technology Centre on September 20.

The announcement comes as the Government today unveiled plans to recruit enough nurses, therapists and consultants to treat an extra one million mental health patients by 2020-21.

Jo Bailey from DRCS said: “Industry-wide, mental health in the workplace is now being taken very seriously. Companies are now being encouraged to consider well-being policies in their every-day work with research confirming links between developing an employee engagement culture and improved communication and productivity.

“We offer guidance and mechanisms to employers to proactively assess and help their employees highlight potential problems before they arise and overcome mental health issues.”

Holly Dobson, employment solicitor at Wake Smith added: “Significant media focus has centred around mental health issues in recent months with high-profile campaigns providing much-needed support to end the stigma that surrounds it.

“Employers need to take steps to re-educate their workforce and encourage a safe environment in which mental health can be discussed honestly and openly.

“A positive approach means businesses can make huge advancements in breaking taboos around mental health. It needs to be a priority in the workplace, just as physical health has been in recent years.”

DRCS is the largest provider of counselling services in Derbyshire and has a 27-year track record of working with individuals suffering from common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress and long term conditions and companies addressing workplace wellbeing.

Research shows that mental health issues cost the UK economy some £16 billion per annum –  £3bn for therapists’ fees and £13bn for lost productivity, absenteeism and the use of other government services.

According to NHS England, one in four people in the UK will suffer mental health symptoms at some stage in their working lives. The CIPD states the average annual cost of absenteeism per UK employee is £760.