Staff at Bewley Homes marked Time to Talk Day today (Thursday 2 February) by stopping work and taking a break.
Run by the mental health charity, Mind, and Rethink Mental Illness, Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation which encourages friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives.
With mental health an on-going priority at Bewley, the company were keen to get involved. It supplied refreshments to all teams at head office and on sites and encouraged staff to talk as well as showcase what’s available to them to support during difficult times.
Bewley has just put a number of staff through training to become mental health first aiders which Angela Terrett, HR Manager at Bewley Homes, explains: “Our staff’s mental health is vitally important and we have launched a number of initiatives over the last few years to support everyone who works at Bewley as well as our subcontractors.
“We will have nine mental health first aiders in the business who will be able to spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health, start a supportive conversation with a colleague who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. They have been trained to listen to the person in a non-judgemental way and signpost to the relevant professional who can help that person.
“We know the more conversations we have, the better people feel about the frustrations they are facing. Talking about mental health isn’t always easy, but a conversation has the power to change lives.
Angela added: “Across the company, we are aiming to encourage staff to open up at work. We want to equip employees with better understanding and skills to support colleagues experiencing mental health concerns and problems.”
In the last year, Bewley has engaged with mental health professionals to provide webinars and has also launched an ongoing support system, to enable every employee to feel that they can be open and honest about how they are feeling in the workplace and at home.
Managing Director at Bewley Homes, Andrew Brooks, commented: “Supporting our staff’s mental health is our number one priority at Bewley. We recognise that problems or difficulties around how we are feeling do not disappear when we walk back into the workplace or work from home. Across the UK one in five people take a day off work due to stress or anxiety. What people tend to do, especially in a work situation, is to hide their real feelings behind a mask. We need to encourage people to open up.”