It features heavily in the media, affects around 1 in 4 people every year, and yet there is a distinct lack of understanding when it comes to Mental Health problems. Whilst the overall numbers of individuals who suffer with Mental Health problems has not significantly increased over the years, people are feeling more empowered to speak out when they are unable to cope.
E-zec recently identified that, as a business, we could be doing a lot more in relation to what support and guidance we offer employees who experience Mental Health problems. We’re under no illusions that it’s tough out there for our ACA’s, and office-based teams, and we felt it was crucial to have something in place that our employees could access.
In October and November of 2019, 18 members of the contract management team, and the regional HR Advisors, undertook a Mental Health First Aid course. The courses were delivered by our external Occupational Health providers, Innovate, and each attendee received a Mental Health First Aid certification that can be applied to both E-zec employees and external parties. These individuals are available for our employees to utilize with immediate effect.
The training provided our Mental Health First Aiders with the knowledge to identify & understand warning signs of poor mental health and provide support accordingly. They will be available to listen, reassure and signpost employees to professional resources which are available to support them. This applies to all employees, whether they have been previously diagnosed with a Mental Health related illness, or are experiencing poor Mental Health at that time.
During the course, the main focus was given to the following conditions:
- Depression, including the behaviors that can be associated with individuals experiencing depression, such as alcohol abuse and drug use.
- Anxiety Disorders, including behaviors that can commonly occur as part of an anxiety disorder, such as Eating Disorders and Self-Harm
- Psychosis and associated conditions
If any employee feels that they may benefit from this service, they should speak to their line-manager in the first instance, or if that is not suitable, their Regional HR Advisors. Further information will also be advertised at each individual base.
Having Mental Health First Aiders in our contract areas is a fantastic starting point, and will be a great first port of call for any employees who need additional support. However, E-zec also identified that employees may wish to keep their concerns private, speak to someone who is qualified in Mental Health, or may need a helping hand outside of their working hours. With this in mind, the Company will also be investing in an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) for use by employees.
Also delivered by Innovate, EAP is a telephone service which will allow employees to receive in the moment support from a qualified Mental Health Professional. The service will be available for employees to utilize 24/7 365 days of the year, and is a completely confidential service.
All telephone support professionals will either be qualified Counsellors or Psychotherapists and will be able to speak to employees about how they are feeling at that time, whether that be in relation to Mental Health, Legal information & Guidance, Money Advice and Debt Management or general everyday matters such as family care. They will also be able to refer employees to other statutory support services or signpost to other NHS mental health supports.
This is due to go live on the 13th January 2020, and further materials will be shared amongst the different contract areas in the coming weeks. We are very excited to be able to invest in our employees in this way, and hope that this shows them that we are very appreciative of the wonderful work that they do with our patients out in the field. A huge thank you again, to all of our employees.