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Stress, Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace Southwark Chamber of Commerce

Stress, Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace Southwark Chamber of Commerce. Professor Kevin Fenton Strategic Director of Place and Wellbeing | Director of Public Health Southwark Council Email: Kevin.Fenton@southark Twitter: @ ProfKevinFenton March 2019.

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Stress, Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace Southwark Chamber of Commerce

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  1. Stress, Mental Health and Wellbeing in the WorkplaceSouthwark Chamber of Commerce Professor Kevin Fenton Strategic Director of Place and Wellbeing | Director of Public Health Southwark Council Email: Kevin.Fenton@southark Twitter: @ProfKevinFenton March 2019 Please cite as: Stress, MH and Wellbeing. Southwark Council: London, 2019.

  2. Similar to our physical health, we all go through periods of feeling stressed or mentally unwell. In fact, any any time, 1 in 4 of us will be dealing with a an issue affecting our mental health. Spend a couple minutes on personal reflection. Try to remember the last time you last felt stressed for whatever reason. Think about what exactly about that situation made you stressed. What were some of the signs and symptoms you experienced? What did you do to eventually manage it? Now, working in groups of 2 or 3, share what you understand by the terms mental health and stress. What do they mean to you?

  3. Defining what we are talking about:Some definitions of Mental Health • Mental Health is the emotional and spiritual resilience which enables us to enjoy life and survive pain, disappointment and sadness. It is a positive sense of wellbeing and an underlying belief in our own and others dignity and worth (HEA, 1997) • “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community” (World Health Organisation, 2014)

  4. Defining what we are talking about:Some definitions of Stress • “[a] relationship between the person and the environment that is …. taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being” • Lazarus and Folkman, 1984 • “a mental and / or physical response, by an individual to an inappropriate level of pressure whether real or perceived” • Raymond and Wilson, 1999 • “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them” • Health and Safety Executive, 2004

  5. Mental ill-health and stress in the workplaceKey facts and statistics

  6. Relationship between stress and mental health / illness Stress is not an illness but……. Prolonged exposure to stress can cause ill health – both mental and physical

  7. Pressure and StressImpact on performance

  8. Fight or FlightHow the body and mind respond to threats • Body converts stored energy into useable energy to be used for fighting off an aggressor or running away • Pituitary and adrenal glands release chemicals which cause major changes in body: • Blood flow increases to brain and vital organs • Heart beats faster • Blood pressure rises • Muscles become tense (ready for use) • Hormones released to maintain performance, including cortisol which keeps levels of fat and sugar in bloodstream higher for easier energy release • Narrows the focus of the individual • Designed to be short-term response

  9. Effects of StressUnderstanding and identifying the signs

  10. Factors contributing to work-related stressOur workplaces can cause or help us deal with stress • Demands – this includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment. • Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work. • Support – this includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues. • Relationships – this includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour. • Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles. • Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation. HSE www.hse.gov.uk

  11. What can employers do?All employers have an important role to play • Risk assess for stress: • Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it • If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down. But it is useful to do this, so you can review it later. If you have five or more employees, you are required by law to write the risk assessment down • Any paperwork you produce should help you communicate and manage the risks in your business • Sample templates and risk assessments can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/risk-assessment.htm • Work out what’s happening in your workplace: • Use the free HSE Stress Management Standards Indicator Tool - http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/assets/docs/indicatortool.pdf • Compare your results with the recommendations in HSE’s Management Standards - http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/index.htm

  12. What can employers do?Evidence based solutions developed jointly work best • Introduce and promote flexible working conditions helping to create a good home / life balance • Consider allowing working from home / remotely and other agile working solutions • Ensure regular, pre-planned supervision and performance appraisal • Enhance communications throughout the organisation • Arrange regular social activities / opportunities for staff • Organise team away days • Show appreciation for achievements • Allow staff greater autonomy and creativity and avoid micro-management • What are some of the other solutions being used in your workplace?

  13. Consider working towards the London Healthy Workplace Award London Healthy Workplace Charter • The London Healthy Workplace Charter, backed by the Mayor of London, provides clear and easy steps for employers to make their workplaces healthier and happier. • 244 organisations have been accredited and awarded, with more than 310,000 employees benefiting. • The Healthy Workplace Charter is basically a set of standards that organisations meet in order to receive an official accreditation (and award). • One of the 3 pillars of the award scheme focuses on improving workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing • With free support from your borough, you can show how your organisation is focused on health and wellbeing. Support is provided by Public Health to gather evidence, address any gaps in workplace practice and gain accreditation. Award ceremony at City Hall • https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/health/healthy-workplace-charter

  14. What can individuals do?Positive coping strategies • Finding someone you can trust to talk to • Sharing the problem, expressing feelings • Seeking professional help • Learning to assert yourself • Setting goals • Problem solving skills – solution focused • Learning to relax • Exercise and activity • Rest • Time management / leisure • Healthy eating • Doing an activity you enjoy • Giving yourself a treat

  15. Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” However, it is important to realise that wellbeing is a much broader concept than moment-to-moment happiness. While it does includes happiness, it also includes other things, such as how satisfied people are with their life a whole, their sense of purpose, and how in control they feel. ‘Wellbeing can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.” NEF Now, working in groups of 2 or 3, share what are the things you do to improve your wellbeing?

  16. 5 Ways to WellbeingEvidence-based factors which enhance mental wellbeing • Connect: with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours • Be active: find an activity that you enjoy • Take Notice: be curious, notice the changing seasons, savour the moment • Keep Learning: Try something new, rediscover an old interest, set a challenge • Give: do something nice for a friend or stranger, thank someone, smile

  17. Helpful Resources • Range of HSE Resources: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm • HSE Talking Toolkit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/assets/docs/stress-talking-toolkit.pdf • HSE Workbook: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wbk01.htm • SLAM Wheel of Wellbeing: https://www.wheelofwellbeing.org/ • Business in the Community Mental Health Toolkit: https://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/sites/default/files/business_in_the_community_mental_health_toolkit_for_employers.pdf • Mental Health at Work Gateway (resources curated by MIND and partners): https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/toolkit/workplace-stress-fulfilling-your-responsibilities-as-an-employer/ • London Healthy Workplace Award: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/health/healthy-workplace-charter


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