One of Fife’s leading employers, VELUX, is today launching a pioneering service to support the company’s goal of creating a more open culture around mental health in the workplace.
The Mental Wellbeing Support Team (MWST) will provide a listening and support service for its UK and Irish employees who are experiencing mental health issues or simply need someone to talk to.
Led by Vikki McKay, HR Business Partner, the team has been created by employees, for employees. Team members will take on this role on a voluntary basis, having undertaken a rigorous selection and training process with the company’s counselling providers, Interactions. The group underwent a 2-day training workshop covering a range of topics:
• Exploring the definition of mental health and types of mental health issues/ behavioural indicators
• Starting a conversation/observation and listening skills/what to say and not to say
• Role-play scenarios based on realistic situations
• How to handle serious concerns about someone’s mental health
• Framework and job description of the team
• Creation of a charter/service level agreement
The new team was formally launched to all VELUX UK and Ireland colleagues on 26 October.
The launch of the team comes in the same week that The Thriving at Work report, commissioned by the government, puts the annual cost to the UK economy of poor mental health at up to £99bn, of which about £42bn is borne by employers.
According to the report, authored by Mind chief executive, Paul Farmer and the mental health campaigner, Dennis Stevenson, about 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year.
Leading roof window manufacturer VELUX employs 250 staff in the UK and Ireland, the majority of whom are based in its UK Headquarters in Glenrothes, Fife.
Pedro Poole, MD of VELUX has said of this project: “There has never been a more important time to create an environment in which VELUX people can succeed, feel valued and supported. Looking after the mental health and wellbeing of staff at work is not only the right thing to do as a responsible employer, but it also makes good business sense, helping to improve productivity and cut down on health-related absence. That is why we have decided to lead the way with the creation of our new dedicated team. All the team members have put in a great deal of effort and commitment to the initiative and are passionate about making it a success. Feedback from staff has so far been really positive and we’re confident the service can act as a best practice model.”