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October 10th was World Mental Health Day and as part of this event, the British Safety Council called on government and businesses to tackle the issue of mental wellbeing in the workplace.

 

The chairman of the British Safety Council, Lawrence Waterman, said that there is a mental health crisis in the workplace. He explained:

 

“The facts are stark: one in three of us will be diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in our lives. Three out of five people have experienced mental health issues due to work.”

 

For many years companies have focused mainly on protecting physical health through PPE (personal protection equipment), safety training, safety systems on machinery, risk assessments and other strategies. Waterman recognises that more companies now also have procedures to safeguard mental health, but he says that more needs to be done.

 

The British Safety Council has been teaching awareness of mental health issues since 2017 and has developed new courses that show mental health can be improved through factors such as adequate sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise.

 

This year has seen the launch of new short modules. These include “Start the Conversation”, a 45-minute lesson on how to get employees talking about mental health. The two-day Health First Aid course shows how to identify and understand a member of staff who is experiencing mental health problems. All the courses are designed to encourage a workplace culture that has a positive approach to mental wellbeing.

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