Jessica Tabinor Mental Illness Awareness
Today marks #WorldMentalHealthDay2019. A day where the nation comes together for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but 10th October is a great day to show your support for better mental health and start looking after your own wellbeing.
It’s estimated that one in four people experience at least one diagnosable mental health issue in any given year and at any one time.
15% have taken time off work due to mental health reasons. Of these, 28% were off work for more than a month.
Throughout the day we have been reflecting on the internal initiatives that we have put in place over the past year to support our colleagues. But we also have a responsibility to care for our contractors too. Morson is dedicated to providing a safe working environment for our contractors and one where each person is fully aware of the support network in place if they, or someone they know, is experiencing a mental health issue.
Mental health awareness on the tracks
Throughout 2019 we have kick-started our mental health initiatives on the tracks. To provide an insight into what support is available for our rail workers, we sat down with Morson’s Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental Compliance Director, Gareth Morris:
“We have introduced a network of mental health first aiders to provide support to contractors working on the London Underground, one of Morson’s main areas for rail workers. We had a number of rail workers come forward and volunteer to take the training which was delivered by Russell Kimble, Morson’s Night Operations Manager and HSQE advisor.
Due to the nature of the job, working in rail can often see contractors working unsociable hours, research shows that working at night, when our body’s natural internal clock expects us to be asleep, puts stresses and strains on physical and mental wellbeing. That’s why we want to promote the availability of our mental health support to them as much as we can and we are looking to develop and enlarge the network of mental health first aiders even more to hopefully reach more people.”
Available to both Morson colleagues and our rail contractors is the Employee Assistance Programme. The external phone line is a free service open 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s designed to provide you with professional, independent and impartial information, support, and counselling. The programme is a confidential service available to all employees. Qualified counsellors can provide advice and support to help you work through any concerns and deal with anxiety or stress. The programme’s information services can equip you with the essential knowledge to help you address everyday challenges or at work or in your personal life.
“Overall, we want to ensure that our contractors lead a happy life, both physically, socially and mentally. We have multi-cultural workforce and we want to ensure that no one feels isolated and that if anyone feels that they need to reach out for help, they know they have people that they can talk to in confidence.”
Tackling mental health in the workplace whitepaper
Mental health is now a permanent part of the workplace, with figures from the Department of Health stating that one in four of us will experience mental illness at some point in our lives.
At Morson, we have seen an increase in the number staff coming forward to express their own struggles with mental illness and seek support. This change in attitudes presented the opportunity to strengthen our own workplace priorities towards mental health by developing effective engagement strategies that tackle the core issues. In doing so, this has enabled us to attract and retain our talented people, drive productivity and innovation and reap numerous commercial benefits that set us apart from many of our competitors.
Last year we launched our mental health whitepaper and pledged our support in stamping out stigma and creating inclusive, equal and diverse workplaces. Our guide aims to provide guidance on how to alter attitudes, spot the signs and tackle the issues. Click below to download.