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Minister celebrates international initiative created in Devon

Posted on 7th October, 2014

Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb MP, is a keynote speaker at a major conference on mental health in the workplace, which is taking place in Exeter next week. More than 200 delegates from across England and Wales will be attending the conference, which celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the MINDFUL EMPLOYER initiative.  The event takes place on Wednesday 15 October at Exeter Racecourse. MINDFUL EMPLOYER provides businesses and organisations with practical information and advice about supporting employees with mental health needs. Run by Workways, a service that is part of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, MINDFUL EMPLOYER was launched in Exeter in 2004 as a purely local initiative but has since spread UK-wide attracting small, medium and large employers from the private, public and voluntary sector. Over 1,200 employers have now signed the MINDFUL EMPLOYER Charter for Employers who are Positive About Mental Health.  The initiative has featured in UK government reports and has been launched in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Richard Frost, who leads the initiative, says: “We are delighted to welcome Norman Lamb to this unique event, which brings together a wide range of people who are passionate about supporting people with mental health needs to thrive in the workplace.  The employers that sign-up to the Charter do so on an entirely voluntary and aspirational basis and this has been the key to helping them identify and improve support for staff experiencing mental ill health.” Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb MP, said: “It is essential employers maintain a healthy workplace – including supporting staff with mental health needs. Mindful Employer has been leading the way in this field for the past decade - providing practical help and advice to employers to support their staff.  Devon should be rightly proud of this initiative, which has been exported all over the world."
Workshops at the event will offer practical advice on how employers can support staff experiencing stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. Topics include stress and work, alcohol use, bullying and harassment, the impact of a suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder, dealing with discrimination claims, supporting managers and recovery from mental ill health. The conference will also see the premiere of specially-made film about the MINDFUL EMPLOYER initiative. Other speakers include Pen Hadow, who, while living in Devon, rose to international fame in 2003 when he became the first person to trek solo, without resupply by third parties, from Canada to the North Geographic Pole. Within months he went on to become the only Briton to have trekked, without resupply, to both the North and South Poles. Having had personal experience of depression, Pen also brings considerable knowledge of the business world and regularly speaks at hi-profile conferences and other events. He will be joined by Professor Dame Carol Black, Expert Advisor on Health and Work at the Department of Health; Dr Steve Boorman, Chief Medical Officer at Capita and author of a report on the health and wellbeing of NHS staff and Liggy Webb, presenter and author on resilience, health and wellbeing.