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MINDFUL EMPLOYER Highly Commended at National Positive Practice Awards

Posted on 10th January, 2008

MINDFUL EMPLOYER®, an Exeter based initiative aimed at increasing awareness of mental health at work and providing support for businesses in recruiting and retaining staff with mental health issues was Highly Commended in the Positive Practice Awards, organised by the Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP). The ceremony was attended by over 300 people including Ivan Lewis, Minister for Health and Tony Adams, ex-England footballer and hosted by the BBC's Dr Mark Porter. It recognised the work of many organisations from all over England. Currently, 450 employers and 300 other partners from across the country receive information about the initiative. Over 190 employers - representing over 250,000 employees - have signed the initiative's Charter for Employers who are Positive About Mental Health: a set of aspirations for employers to work towards. Designed by employers, the MINDFUL EMPLOYER initiative, part of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, provides advice and support to enable employers to respond to the effects on the workplace of harmful levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health-related problems The initiative encourages and enables employers to work in partnership with each other, with support agencies and with GPs on addressing issues affecting employee presence/absence. Richard Frost, Vocational Advisor at Exeter based Workways, which supports people with mental health problems to stay in or return to work, set up MINDFUL EMPLOYER with Workways colleague Lynn Aggett . He says; “The emphasis is often on the client – the person experiencing distress. This gave us the idea of providing support and developing information for employers, who often feel in need of assistance in supporting colleagues as well.”
Richard Frost explains that what is unique about MINDFUL EMPLOYER is that local employers have designed it. He says: “It is amazing how it’s grown. We haven’t had to do any advertising since the launch event. It’s just taken off. Employers can download and find information on the Internet too as well as meet up with other local employers and there is also an online discussion forum.” Gary Hogman, Programme Lead Shift, the national anti-stigma and discrimination project adds: “MINDFUL EMPLOYER has achieved considerable success by enabling and supporting employers to improve mental health outcomes rather than negotiating or 'telling' them to change their policies and practice. This is in many ways a more difficult path to follow and for that they should be recognised and appreciated." For further information visit - MINDFUL EMPLOYER® is a registered trademark of Devon Partnership NHS Trust.