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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Learn to manage life-changing conversations

Conversations change lives

British Safety Council offers training courses to help with mental health conversations

ACCORDING to a Business in the Community report, 60% of employees have experienced a mental health problem due to work and 31% have been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue.

Every week, more than 100 people take their own lives in the UK due to mental health issues, and 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems lose their jobs each year.

Mental ill health expresses itself in poor productivity, increased staff turnover, absenteeism and presenteeism. In 2017, one in 10 managers took an average of 12 days off work for mental health reasons.

The cost of poor mental health to the UK economy has been estimated at between £74 billion and £99 billion per year, according to the report Thriving at Work. Published in October 2017, this report contains the recommendations of the review into workplace mental health, commissioned by the Prime Minister.

Recognizing the magnitude of the problem and its human cost, the British Safety Council has launched a range of mental health training courses that are designed to start conversations about mental health and support employees who are experiencing mental ill health.

One of the main challenges of dealing with mental ill health in the workplace is the stigma associated with it, which makes it difficult for people to admit that they are affected. Talking about mental health is one of the ways of addressing this stigma.

The British Safety Council’s ‘Start the Conversation’ is 45-minute session that aims to get employees thinking about mental well-being and talking about it.

The next stage is a three-hour ‘Manage the Conversation’ workshop to give line managers the skills and confidence to listen to and talk with someone who needs to share a problem regarding their mental well-being.

The British Safety Council also offers the two-day Mental Health First Aid course, developed by Mental Health First Aid England, which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.

Mike Robinson, chief executive of the British Safety Council, said: ‘Acting on the recommendations of the Stevenson-Farmer review of mental health and using our extensive training expertise, we have developed much-needed tools to help people start and manage these difficult conversations about mental health.

‘These practical courses will support the development of a positive mental health culture in any organization, regardless of its size and budget. By learning how to start and engage in open conversations about mental health, we could help to save someone’s life one day.’

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