COVID 19 and See Me in Work
During these uncertain and difficult times, we wanted to update you all with what is happening at See Me and let you know how we can help you stay connected and carry on tackling mental health stigma and discrimination at work. Find out more below.
Employers are working as fast as they can to deal with the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, making changes to policies and procedures; producing guidance on business continuity, and ensuring employees have everything they need to work from home (if able) or in a safe environment. Some employers might be struggling financially and might have to make difficult decisions around staffing and service continuity. On the other hand, employees might be afraid of losing their jobs or not earning enough to pay the bills if they’re not able to work; are working whilst looking after their children and elderly and worrying about loved ones.
As we move through continued phases of changing restrictions, these uncertainties around work will continue.
At times like this being able to talk about our mental health, without having to worry about how others will react is more important that ever. We aim to achieve that with our workplace programme, and we want to continue to do that through these uncertain times.
If you’re engaged in the See Me in Work process, are planning on getting involved or just want more information as to how we will be running the programme over the next few months, we have a Q&A with our Settings programme manager Patty Lozano-Casal to keep you informed.
1. What is happening with the See Me in Work Programme?
The See Me in Work programme will continue to operate as usual. However our team is currently working from home, and support will be provided remotely, either by e-mail, through the phone or video calls/conference (e.g. Zoom).
2. Who can work places contact?
Workplaces can contact Improvement Officer Rachel Bottomley via phone (07703 469 821) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss existing engagement in the programme, or steps to engage in See Me in Work.
3. Are there any other ways of getting in touch?
If I’m not available, please contact See Me via the contact form on our website: https://www.seemescotland.org/contact/.
4. What can workplaces do in the mean time?
See Me would encourage employers to think about how they can continue to support employees to have open conversations about their mental health, and have the information they need to ask for help if they need it. This will be vital whether you have employees preparing to return work, continuing to work from home or on furlough. Those who are working on the front line may also have been experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety.
See Me’s Let’s Chat tool can help line managers and supervisors to prepare and build their confidence to open and have these conversations, and know where to signpost for support. You can download the tool here: https://r1.dotmailer-surveys.com/7e2gpo24-9f3v1733.
Employers should increase supportive communications around absence management policies, sick leave pay and support mechanisms such as Employee Assistance Programme and occupational health. Also, employers should ensure all employees have a contact number for their line manager, supervisor or HR.
If staff are working from home and want to learn more, then people can sign up for our e-learning on mental health stigma at work: https://www.seemescotland.org/e-learning/.
Our partners Scottish Association for Mental Health and Mental Health Foundation have guidance and resources about how to look after your mental health during the Coronovirus pandemic. You can access SAMH’s hub here: https://www.samh.org.uk/about-mental-health/self-help-and-wellbeing/coronavirus-and-your-mental-wellbeing and the Mental Health Foundation here: https://mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus.
5. Can new workplaces still sign up to the See Me in Work programme?
The See Me team has limited capacity to offer consultancy-like support to every employer in Scotland.
We are currently creating resources for employers to take action for themselves; however, some of these are now available to download.
Any employer interested in joining the See Me in Work programme should contact me directly. Please note that having sign-off at senior leadership level (CEO, HR Director, or equivalent) is a requirement to join See Me in Work.
6. What people should do if they are going through the See Me in Work programme at the moment?
Employers engaged in See Me in Work are advised to continue to link in with me as required. I will be able to advise on how: employers can sustain levels of engagement with employees; re-prioritise activity, and keep a focus on mental health stigma and discrimination whilst dealing with other important issues.
7. What about the See Me in Work Partners Peer Network?
The See Me in Work Peer Learning Network will continue to be facilitated. I am currently looking into ways to bring people together virtually and will be in touch with members in due course.