I have been with Ufford Park since 2007.
Every year I choose a focus or project to promote or champion. This year I decided to look at how we as a company can address the serious matters of mental health within the work place.
I have a connection with this topic as I have had close friends and family suffer from mental health issues and I have watched how it can destroy people’s lives, and it has unfortunately become extremely common.
Mental health is more accepted now than ever but I still don’t feel people realise the importance of it.
We spend most of our lives at work, eight hours a day, five days a week. Even more in some cases therefore being able to be open about your mental health in the working environment is important, but not everyone feels that they can.
I want my colleagues to be able to talk to either myself or one of our champions. I aim to train staff to be able to spot people – colleagues and others from outside the business – who may be struggling with mental health issues and offer to help.
We all have times when we feel down, stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a mental health problem like anxiety or depression, which can impact on our daily lives. For some people, mental health problems become complex, and require support and treatment for life.
Factors like poverty, genetics, childhood trauma, discrimination, or ongoing physical illness make it more likely that we will develop mental health problems, but mental health problems can happen to anybody.
Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can fluctuate as circumstances change and as you move through different stages in your life.
When we feel distressed, we need a compassionate, human response. The earlier we are able to recognise when something isn’t quite right, the earlier we can get support.
Good mental health at work and good management go hand in hand and there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. Addressing wellbeing at work increases productivity by as much as 12%.
Ufford Park values mental health and wellbeing as core assets of our organisation and we are:
Committed to developing an approach to mental health at work that protects and improves mental health for everyone, whilst supporting those people who experience distress by designating champions, and ensuring senior leaders and middle managers are responsible for implementing mental health programmes.
Committed to reviewing the way we do business to ensure our everyday working culture is as mentally healthy as possible. Make evidence based mental health promotion tools like exercise available to all staff.
Regular staff surveys to build data about staff mental health, using findings to plan and deliver action and inform workplace policies. Recognise and celebrate the impact of existing employee benefits and our corporate socially responsible activities on the mental health and wellbeing of staff.
We support the development of compassionate and effective line management relationships and we:
Provide opportunities for managers and staff to attend relevant training to support staff living with mental health problems and the wellbeing of all staff more widely.
Provide proactive support for staff line-managing people with mental health problems, including access to HR and, where necessary, occupational health services.
Recognise that line managers and staff who have personal lived experience of mental health problems are a unique asset to a company and value the diversity and transferable skills that lived experience of mental health problems bring and support disclosure.
Give people positive reasons to disclose by establishing a culture that values authenticity and openness – this will be led from the top of the organisation.
Student Life is delighted to be extending our relationship with Ufford Park, by partnering with the hotel and spa in providing Mental Health in the Workplace training via our training arm – Training For Life – later this year.