OUR MESSAGE IS THAT ANYONE can be a Mental Health Advocate…
We believe there are 6 key universal principles that can be adopted moving forward to best support a diverse range of people and their Mental Health- Think V.I.S.I.O.N in your workplace.
1 (V). Value everybody- and consistently ensure people are given the important message that they are valued. Everybody has a core value, everyone is important.
2. (I) Information - Try to help create a workplace culture that supports employees to be open about their mental health, so ensure appropriate mental health information and notices board are in place in ALL work units & depots.
3.(S) Support – Help us to ensure we maintain and grow appropriate levels of support with adequate numbers of Mental Health Advocates, MHFA’s and M.H ambassadors, so that at any given time a conversation can be had with someone about their mental health.
4. (I) Inclusion- Make sure that individuals must have a say in their own recovery action plans and include them in decision making on any suggested adjustment needs in work.
5. (O)- Open door approach - Ensure you & your workplace understand the need to listen and react immediately when someone is experiencing a mental health problem and also understand that we always must adopt a ‘listening ear’ approach.
6. (N) Networking- Ensure interaction with other Mental Health Advocates, to ensure better collective ‘support for the supporters’ and for sharing best practice examples on raising awareness.
Our mental Health Network Philosophy
It is our core belief in the North West Region, it is without doubt that organisations perform better when their staff are healthy, motivated and focused.
Smart employers support employees who are experiencing mental health problems to ensure they cope and recover. We believe as the North West CWU through our commitment to be an active Trade union on all workplace Mental Health issues, is that we must remain at the forefront of always ensuring that when support is needed it is given.
We can now example that as an active Trade union the North West CWU now has the single largest support network of trained Mental Health First Aiders and Mental Health advocates in the UK and the largest number of CWU members being afforded reasonable adjustments and recognition for Mental Health Disability.
The pandemic has increased localised stress for ‘key workers’ at a previously unseen level, especially in areas where high Covid infection rates and illness has occurred, we are also now dealing with Long Covid as a disability that both affects the Physical Health & Mental health of colleagues once diagnosed. The level of support people receive from employers is crucial in determining how well and how quickly they return to peak health.
There are many practical and inexpensive steps that any Trade Union Rep or organisation can take to support staff at every stage of the mental health spectrum.
Our approach should be that- Clear Employer policies and legal entitlements on workplace adjustments MUST flow through to ground level. We believe that ‘reasonable adjustments’ are absolutely crucial to support staff to cope and recover and potentially reduce the length of mental health related sickness absence.
We are proud to work with Unionsafety.eu on all things relating to Health & Safety in the Workplace and we have now got an agreement on this website whereby we can access share allowed information to our colleagues on such things as Mental Health support/ best practice examples/ anonymised risk assessments/ personal stories and Mental Health blogs along with uplifting videos.
This information may help by giving colleagues/ Reps/MHFAs extra knowledge and we know from experience that support from their CWU MHFA or CWU Union representative is very often imperative to ensure all business Mental Health policies are not only understood but implemented at local level.
We also need to understand how these work in practice, there should be no guessing game.
Our Reps must be positive – focus on what employees can do, rather than what they can’t and work together and involve people in finding solutions as often as possible. We hope the information shared on this website can help colleagues by assisting all those CWU members seeking a pathway to support.
We believe in H.O.P.E Helping Our People Excel
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