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Mental wellbeing in focus at employer conference

Local public sector employers met at County Hall, Preston this week to discuss ways to ensure their staff are supported to feel well, work well and live well.

The Well@WorkLSC conference, organised by Lancashire County Council, saw representatives from organisations that are part of the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria Partnership learn and share their ideas on how to address mental wellbeing issues at work.

Speakers at the event included Angie Ridgwell, chief executive of Lancashire County Council, Andy Rhodes, chief constable of Lancashire Constabulary, and Dr Gita Bhutani from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The conference focused on ways these organisations can work together to tackle mental wellbeing issues such as stress, anxiety and depression to help employees stay well in work or return to work sooner.

Public Health England figures show that one in eight employees have a mental health condition. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found mental ill health is one of the main causes of long-term absence from work.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: “Productivity begins with our people. So it is absolutely crucial for our local economy and for our communities that we do all we can to ensure people who work in Lancashire and South Cumbria stay fit and well and have the resilience to cope with the issues they face.

“Having a mental health problem does not mean someone is unable to work. The truth is we all probably work with someone who is experiencing a mental health problem.

“Mental wellbeing issues, such as stress and anxiety, can affect people at work and in their personal life. It’s important we all work together to ensure we provide the right support to help address them.

“It was really interesting to hear about the different measures which organisations put in place to help people stay well, including developing line managers to be competent, trained, and supportive towards their workforce, and to lead by example. We also discussed different types of support such as employee engagement, mindfulness, stress-management courses and employee counselling.

“Ensuring we all have a healthy, happy and well workforce is very important and will make a huge difference to our employees, the economy and everyone in Lancashire and South Cumbria.”

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