3rd Aug 2012
Scheme launched to help workforce deal with stress
One of Northern Ireland's biggest mental health charities has launched a training service addressing a problem which costs the local economy over £790m a year.
Action Mental Health's new AMH Works consultancy and training scheme will help employers support the one in six people in the workforce said to be affected by mental health problems. Action Mental Health Chief executive David Babington said the service was more relevant to employers now than ever.
"Looking after staff welfare is a business responsibility, and has a huge impact on productivity, sick leave and profits," he said.
"Most of us spend the greater portion of our lives at work, and it should come as no surprise that it can have an enormous impact on our wellbeing. In these times of economic hardship, businesses are under pressure to stretch resources - and these strains are being passed on to staff.
"Every day, one worker in six will be experiencing a mental health difficulty, most commonly depression or anxiety. Mental distress is now a fact of life and it can affect anyone in any workplace.
"It makes good business sense to protect and promote the mental health of your employees. However, a wealth of research has shown that many employers aren't even aware of the extent of the problem.
Workplace mental health remains the elephant in the room - staff can't disclose to their employers for fear of the consequences, employers don't acknowledge the scale of the issue and all the while poor mental health and wellbeing are costing the Northern Ireland Economy over £790 million every year."
He added that AMH Works could be the first step in creating an open, supportive environment where employees can speak up about their stress and mental health problems.
Action Mental Health has been working with individuals with mental health needs for 50 years, providing them with the support needed in their recovery.
From its inception in 1963, AMH has grown to be one of the largest mental health and learning disability voluntary sector organisations in Northern Ireland, with an established track record in providing a range of unique, high quality services helping more than 1,700 people every year across the region.