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FSB plan trained mental health counsellors for SMEs

By Chris Dawson September 17, 2017 - 10:28 am

Many Tamebay readers won’t have taken a day off sick in years. You probably can’t afford to as your business has to run come rain or shine and regardless of whether you’re suffering from illness. It’s a matter of pride for most small businesses that they keep going come what may and in reality if you don’t you may not have a business to come back to once you’re fit again.

Public Health England (PHE) have recognised the contribution small businesses give to the economy which accounts for around 60% of private sector employment but across the workforce 46 million days are lost each year in the UK due to poor mental health and lower neck and back pain. Most big employers already have some plans in place that help to improve and protect their staff’s health but many SMEs do not currently benefit from such programmes. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) are about to publish new guidelines on how businesses can improve their workers’ health, with advice on physical and mental health.

“The FSB will soon launch its first wellbeing campaign aimed at providing some simple ideas and suggestions that smaller firms can look to adopt to support themselves and their staff. This sits alongside the medical and health advice service we already offer our members. We are delighted to receive the support of PHE for our campaign and we hope it acts as a catalyst for a positive conversation on wellbeing and mental health.”
– Mike Cherry, Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses

Looking after your staff’s mental health can be as simple as asking if someone is ok and then knowing where they can go to get help. Sending staff on courses to become workplace counsellors is part of the plan the FSB are outlining.

One in four people will be affected by mental health at some stage in their life. Employers should know the signs to look for and how to support their staff? In the past mental health has been looked upon as a stigma and the old advice to “Pull yourself together and get on with it” simply isn’t helpful. Mental health is just as de debilitating as physical illness and thankfully today it’s starting to be viewed with the same level of importance.

You probably have a trained first aider in your business, do you also have someone who’s trained as a mental health counsellor?

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