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Mental health: Start the Conversation

Mental Health

British Safety Council launches portfolio of training courses to help businesses and employees

TO coincide with World Mental Health Day (10 October), the British Safety Council has unveiled a portfolio mental health training courses designed to help businesses and their employees start conversations about mental health issues, and support their efforts to begin building a positive mental health culture in their organizations.

Since 1957, the charity and membership organization has been campaigning to keep workers healthy and safe. More recently, it has focused its activities on workplace health and well-being, including mental health.


In January 2017, the British Safety Council helped to launch the Mates in Mind programme, which provides information, support and training on mental health for the construction industry.

The British Safety Council’s mental health training portfolio, first announced at its annual conference on 4 October 2017, has been developed in response to public recognition that poor mental health constitutes a significant problem in workplaces in Britain.

Indeed, the Business in the Community National Employee Mental Wellbeing Survey 2016 found that three out of four employees had experienced poor mental health, whilst more than 100 people take their own lives in the UK every week, according mental health charity Mind.

The British Safety Council has used its extensive training expertise to develop the following mental health courses:

  • Mental health ‘Start the Conversation’ for all employees – available immediately
  • Mental health ‘Train the Facilitator’, which allows staff to deliver ‘Start the Conversation’ in house – available immediately
  • Mental health ‘Managing the Conversation’ for line managers – to be launched in January 2018
  • Mental Health First Aid qualification – to be launched in January 2018.

‘Start the Conversation’, which is already being delivered to companies in the UK, is a 45-minute session which gets people thinking about mental health and talking about it. It aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health so that employees feel more comfortable talking about their feelings.

Adrian Vale, educational designer at the British Safety Council, explained: ‘Our expert facilitators can visit your workplace and deliver up to seven ‘Start the Conversation’ sessions per day to groups of 20 employees. We can help employers raise mental health awareness among 140 staff in a single day.

‘Our programme is unique. Most mental health training courses are half-day or one-day long. Many employers, particularly those with limited resources, are not able or willing to release several members of staff for either a half-day or full-day mental health training course.

‘That is the reason we have developed these 45-minute training sessions, which should meet the needs of all organizations and support their employees.’


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