Leading the Way: Mental Health Inclusion in the Workplace

Posted by See Me, 25 March 2019

As part of our Workplace Equality Fund we are working with four major employers to tackle stigma and discrimination in their organisations through a tailored consultancy approach. 

On Tuesday 19th May 2019 we delivered an event to showcase the successes, challenges and learning from the four companies involved, and to look at how we continue to move toward a workplace free from mental health stigma and discrimination.

The past eight months have been busy for ScotRail, Burness Paull LLP, Apex Hotels and Babcock – the four large private sector employers involved in the See Me Workplace Equality Fund pilot.

On Tuesday 19th May 2019 See Me delivered an event to showcase the successes, challenges and learning from the four companies efforts to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace with tailored consultancy support from See Me.

“Leading the Way: Mental Health Inclusion in the Workplace” brought together almost 100 leaders representing over 60 mainly private sector employers. Attendees engaged with presentations, launch of the “Let’s Chat” tool, discussion workshops, a strategic reflective space, a pilot video and a leader’s panel debate. Every part of the day was designed to maximise learning from the project and motivate the assembled leaders and managers to translate the resources and learning into their workplaces.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the event was the “Fireside Chat”. This was a conversation involving four ScotRail staff from various levels of the company and a See Me volunteer, all of whom had lived experience of mental health problems. There was no agenda, no formality and no questions from the audience. This was the conversation that most of us don’t get to hear: lived experience talking to lived experience. It was an incredibly generous and courageous thing for participants to do and getting to listen in on this conversation had a profound effect on the audience amplifying the urgency and necessity of ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

Improvements achieved during the pilot and discussed at the event included strengthened mental health training, recruitment of wellbeing champions, working on mental health policies, designing a wellbeing section of a company app, commissioning a Z-Card of available support resources, producing a managers toolkit, procuring a wellbeing budget, reviewing recruitment and induction processes, planning for wellbeing spaces, better communication of the Employee Assistance Provider, enhanced return to work practices and the creation of a mental health and wellbeing space on the company intranet page.

All four companies also delivered events to coincide with “Time to Talk Day" (7th February 2019).

The pilot has over delivered and the event was a huge success but there is more work to be done. For the companies this means embedding and sustaining achieved improvements and going deeper into the equalities aspect of mental health in the workplace ensuring that people with complex and enduring mental health problems are reached.

The next 6-12 months will remain busy for the four companies and for See Me as well as we continue to work towards ending mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace.

The Workplace Equality Fund

As part of the Workplace Equality Fund See Me are working with four major employers to tackle stigma and discrimination in their organisations through a tailored consultancy approach.

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