As you may already be aware, world mental health day was on the 10th October. Fortunately, mental health awareness has been expanding over the last decade, and even more rapidly over the last few years. Unfortunately, the number of people suffering globally is following suit, and the appropriate support is still not in place on a large scale. According to World Health Organisation, depression is one of the leading causes of disability, globally, affecting 264 million people.

Are you aware that 70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, and 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems leave their jobs each year?

This may not mean much to you, if you are in fact amongst the majority, who haven’t been affected by mental health. You may know of a colleague or acquaintance who has a mental health condition, but you’re not sure how or why, and you try to avoid the topic. It tends not to affect us or cross our minds until we experience it first-hand, or if a loved one or family member encounters it on an intense scale.

But take this example, if you broke your leg and couldn’t walk for two months, how would you feel if your manager, and/ or co-workers couldn’t understand why you were unable to come to work? You can’t imagine it can you. Humans are visual, and we sometimes find it difficult to see beyond the physical and what is in front of us – the black and white.

On the other hand, if a work colleague had to take two months off due to a relapse in their diagnosed permanent mood disorder, this may likely prompt misunderstanding and misjudgement. Mental Health Foundation studies found that the number of managers that felt that taking time off due to physical illness or injury is treated more seriously than taking time off to improve mental health was 65%. It may be difficult to grasp, but people suffering with a mental health condition are in pain. They did not ask for it, and they certainly do not want it – just like getting a broken leg.

Mental health is still a taboo subject, and this needs to change. 9 out of 10 people who experience mental health problems say they face stigma and discrimination and 54% percent of people say they are impacted most by this stigma in their place of work. The Health Foundation surveys found that 59% said their workplace could make improvements to current systems and attitudes, to take the mental health of workers more seriously.

So, how are Premier Partnership working and striving towards a better future for mental health? At Premier we have a cadre of over 30 highly trained and specialist mental health trainers, who are expert in their field and have extensive knowledge of mental health first aid. Premier Partnership have delivered Mental Health programmes passionately for the last 10 years.

We have over 20 years’ experience working with organisations to train, support and advise them on how to identify mental health issues and provide support and assistance to individuals, who may be suffering from mental health issues. This has taken various forms, such as: personal resilience courses, stress awareness in the workplace, stress management in the workplace, assist suicide prevention training and mental health first aid.

We have previously delivered suicide prevention awareness and ligature removal training to Stoke City Council and we have also delivered Mental Health Awareness training to Ealing Borough Council. One of our major recent contracts was Warwickshire Public Health, where we delivered a multi-agency programme of Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention courses. From January this year to date, Premier Partnership have delivered 39 training courses, training 468 delegates overall, and 94% of these delegates said they would highly recommend the course to a colleague.

Mental Health at Work found that less than half of employees say they would feel able to talk openly with their line manager, if they were suffering from stress, and 95% of employees will cite an alternative reason to stress when calling in sick. In addition to this, MIND found that 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance

At Premier we strive to look after each other both as a team and as a family. We promote mental health awareness in our organisation and strive to remove any stigma, attaching itself to anybody who needs help, and encouraging people to speak up. How are you feeling today, and do you know how your colleagues are feeling? It is very easy sometimes, particularly in a fast paced, demanding environment, to lose your patience, snap and not take a minute to think about your surroundings. So, let’s try to spread the compassion today, and every day of the year – educate and care. Mental Health Matters.