October 10th marked World Mental Health Day and the theme for 2017 is mental health in the workplace, an important area which can often be over looked. Studies have shown that our experience in the workplace is one of the factors determining our over-all wellbeing, so at Catholic Care we welcome the challenge of including initiatives in the workplace to promote mental health and the right support for our employees.
Most risks for mental health in the working environment relate to interactions between type of work, the organisational and managerial environment, the skills and competencies of the staff, and the support available for them to carry out their work.
Risks to mental health include:
- Inadequate health and safety procedures
- Poor communication and managerial practices (e.g. a culture of blame and not one of support)
- Limited participation in decision-making or low control over the area of one’s work
- Low levels of support for staff
- Inflexible working hours
- Unclear tasks or organisational objectives
- Creating a Healthy Workspace
At Catholic Care, we recognise the above risks and impact they can have both on people’s personal and working lives. So what do we do to create a healthy workspace which both protects and promotes mental health?
- As an organisation we treat health and safety with utmost importance and the Trustees have their own sub-committee as part of the Charity’s government of health and safety. We employ a firm of health and safety advisors who, through visiting our places of work, ensure the demanding health and safety regulations are met.
- Communication is key to the smooth running of any organisation and at Catholic Care we have various methods of communication ranging from formal memos to the informal staff newsletter which shares news from the Charity. Carol will regularly make visits throughout the services to meet staff and update on Charity matters. Staff meetings allow for staff to discuss particularly day to day and service issues and have the opportunity to contribute their views and ideas.
- Staff are supported through the Organisation formally via the supervision and appraisal processes and informally on a day to day basis. For those with ambition, training is very much encouraged providing staff with the opportunity for enhancing their skills and performance. Staff are also supported through gratitude with our recent Investors in People Report saying: “Staff greatly value the appreciation and recognition extended to them.”
- At Catholic Care flexible working is offered through a variety of part-time options and flexible working requested are viewed favourably subject to the needs of the service users and the service.
- Staff are employed with a job description clearly stating their roles and responsibilities. I time these may evolve to meet the needs of those we care for and the service and staff are supported through this by the supervision and appraisal process.
A healthy workplace can be described as one where workers and managers actively contribute to the working environment by promoting and protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees. We believe we do this at Catholic Care but where we don’t we have asked our staff to tell us.