Breaking the stigma around mental health issues
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East Anglian housing provider Flagship Group is putting the spotlight on staff wellbeing and mental health on February 7, which is Time to Talk Day.
With one in four people in the UK suffering from a mental health illness, Flagship is highlighting the message - “it’s always okay to talk.”
As part of the group’s wellbeing plan for staff, an instructor and 50 first aiders have now been trained to help with mental health issues – such as depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts, and to also provide support in getting the right professional help. Training people internally is more cost effective and enables scope to grow, said a spokesman.
The housing provider is passionate about breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and has set up a dedicated confidential email for staff to speak to the member of the Mental Health First Aid team.
Mental Health First Aid instructor at Flagship Lyn Halsted said: “We are a large employer and have a lot of staff who work remotely. “We’ve received some really positive feedback from staff who are being open and honest about their feelings.
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“We now have 50 employees trained as mental health first aiders, but we want to continue to grow the support network. We believe it’s a great resource and expertise to have in-house.”
Flagship provides nearly 23,000 homes across East Anglia and employs around 850 staff so it is a major regional employer.
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As part of her role, Mrs Halsted has also visited other organisations including some in London and across the East of England, to spread the word about the importance of highlighting mental health in the workplace. She said: “We all have mental health just like physical health. It’s been a really positive experience delivering the message to others and talk to them about the difference having our team in place has made to Flagship.”
Flagship also has an online Wellbeing Centre providing access to wellbeing resources such as videos and tips from wellness experts to help staff lead healthier lives.