Mental health services for the individual and the workplace

Published: Wednesday 29th March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Mental health problems could be more prevalent than you think, with almost 10% of the UK population suffering from anxiety and depression.

Added to this are phobias, OCD, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia and personality disorders.

Whilst some of these can come and go depending on circumstances, others can be in effect throughout an individual’s lifetime. And whilst people are opening up to discussion, more needs to be done to help those with conditions.

We spoke to Ricky Newton, cofounder of Working for Health, to find out what can be done.

“People with long-term mental health problems have the lowest employment rate of all disabled groups at just 7.3%,” says Ricky.

“And yet I know from national surveys that almost half are desperate to work.”

The team at Working for Health provides people with mental health conditions everything they need to get back on their feet.

This includes the tools required to build confidence and resilience, determine the right kind of work, and identify and refine a skill set.

“We also help them to write CVs and applications, explore training options, look into employer support and develop a plan for returning to work,” Ricky tells us.

As a Community Interest Company, any profits are reinvested back into the community. Meanwhile, Working for Health works closely with The Blue Approach, another Hull-based company.

Providing governance, workforce and management solutions, The Blue Approach specialises in training businesses how to reduce sickness absence and turnover whilst increasing performance and company profit.

“Psychological wellbeing in the workplace is an essential factor,” explains Ricky.

“It’s estimated that mental health costs UK businesses £26 billion each year, with 70 million days lost per annum.”

And yet this significant problem isn’t just due to people being off sick; it’s also due to them not taking sick leave.

“Presenteeism” is the term coined for staff, often those with high wages and important roles, who come into work when their mental health is failing. They usually underperform as a result, which leads to reduced productivity and ultimately more sick time than they would have had.

“Together we believe that everyone can work if the work is right for them,” says Ricky.

“Whilst Working for Health helps the individual to reengineer their thought process, The Blue Approach encourages companies as a whole to develop new ways of supporting employees with mental health problems.”

“It’s a symbiotic balance, as workplaces need people as much as people need to work.”

If you or someone you know suffers from mental health problems, contact Working for Health on 01482 464921.

If you’re a business looking to improve your working environment to the benefit of all staff, call The Blue Approach on 01482 464936.

“Everyone has the right to a second chance,” says Ricky. “Together we’ll use hope as the change agent.”

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Published: Wednesday 29th March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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