MTS signed the Time to Change pledge to help end mental health discrimination in July 2017. We want to change the way people think and talk about mental health in the workplace.
Since signing the pledge we’ve worked hard to incorporate mental health awareness into our ways of working right across the business. At Board level, directors discuss mental health issues and how we can support employees at the bi-monthly meetings of our Executive Health, Safety & Environment Committee.
Employees from all company divisions are represented at the Employed SHEQW (Safety, Health, Environment, Quality & Wellbeing) Group. This group discusses ways to support colleagues with mental health issues and is also seeking volunteer mental health champions. We’re encouraging members of staff to share their personal stories with colleagues, anonymously if they prefer.
In 2018 we’ll be taking information and support to our network of regional depots as part of a Wellbeing & Training Roadshow. Mental health will be a key topic and we’ll be rolling out training on how to support employees for our regional managers.
In September 2017 we carried out a staff wellbeing survey to find out which topics most interest our employees. “Managing stress” was voted one of the most important areas to focus on in 2018 and will be a key feature of our programme for the year.
MTS News is published online every other month and features regular updates on mental health and other wellbeing issues. We also send a regular wellbeing email update to everyone in the company. A recent email encouraged our staff to complete the online NHS self-assessment questionnaire on mental health – we received very positive feedback from staff who had arranged to see their GP following this questionnaire.
We understand that some people can find visiting the doctor daunting and would prefer to have someone they trust with them. To support our staff who’d like to do this, we’ve provided a simple letter template for them to complete and send to their doctor.
We have a trained Mental Health First Aider available to provide initial help and guidance towards professional help. Although Mental Health First Aiders are not trained therapists, they are trained to spot early signs of a mental health problem, help stop mental ill health from getting worse and guide someone towards the right support. Four more MTS employees are training as Mental Health First Aiders in February 2018, expanding support across our depots and to field operatives.
Some of our key clients have their own ongoing mental health programmes and we work closely with Thames Water and Southern Water to share and support their initiatives.
Mental health problems are common. In any one year around one in four British adults will experience at least one mental health issue. We’re working hard to support our staff and end the long-standing stigma that has meant many people have little understanding of mental ill health.
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