With statistics showing that half of construction workers in the UK find their work quite or very stressful, a St Helens-based business has come in for high praise for the work it has been doing to tackle the stigma of mental health in the work place.
As a way of showing how highly it values employees – Longworth Building Services Ltd, based on the Haydock Industrial Estate – has recently signed the ‘time to change’ pledge which allows staff to come forward with ideas on what they can do to help end the stigma of mental health and help colleagues.
Since the pledge was signed during Mental Health Awareness Week last month (May), it has led to over 50 per cent of the 68 employee-strong business committing to a pledge on the day, with pledges still being returned. While 10 members of staff, including members of the board, have signed up as mental health champions which involves holding monthly meetings for any members of staff who can benefit from them.
The company’s new SHEQ manager, Melissa Fazackerley, who is passionately taking the lead for Longworth to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace, said: “We invest in looking after the health and safety of our employees and mental health is a valuable part of that investment.
“It isn’t just about sending leaflets, it is about engaging and empowering our employees to become an even better place to work in an industry where pressure is high and deadlines are tight. It’s about understanding our colleagues and providing support when it’s needed, listening to each other and giving our employer feedback on what works for us and what our needs are.
“I can confidently say we are well on our way to fighting the stigma and becoming an understanding and supportive employer.”
St Helens Council’s Business Liaison Officer Sue Waller, who was invited to visit Longworth Building Services Ltd to discuss the support for workplace health available for local St Helens companies, added: “Mental health is an issue businesses can’t afford to ignore as it the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, costing an average of £1,035 per employee per year.
“I’m delighted to see companies like this stand up and realise how precious mental health is – and St Helens Council will always be there to offer a helping hand to companies by informing them of workplace health opportunities open to them.”
Praising Longworth for its approach to raising awareness of mental health, St Helens Council’s portfolio holder for economic opportunity, Councillor Andy Bowden, said:
“I applaud the fantastic work that has been carried out this particular business and Sue, which underlines the council’s commitment to addressing mental health.
“I hope this will now pave the way for more companies to adopt the time to change pledge which will help create a healthier and happier workplace.”
In St Helens, there’s a unique opportunity for organisations to demonstrate their commitment to wellbeing in the workforce through a funded resource providing advice and practical support available, from benchmarking to free health checks.
For more information contact Sue Waller on 01744 676001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A wide range of services are available in St Helens for anyone wanting to talk about their mental health and wellbeing.
For more information, visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/public-health-and-wellbeing/staying-well/mental-health-and-wellbeing