Mental health at work event attracts a crowd

By Anita Jaynes on 4 March, 2016

Organisers of a business session looking at mental wellbeing are delighted with the interest from local businesses and the positive feedback it has received.

Mental Health@Work, which attracted over one hundred delegates from local businesses and was organised by the Swindon Mindful Employer Network, took place on Tuesday March 1 at Arclite House – the headquarters of Excalibur Communications.

Guest speakers included Dr Donna Lovell and Suzanne Baxter of Swindon Mind who presented a taster session from the popular Mental Health First Aid courses which focussed on the subject of anxiety. Lisa Monis of Work Smart Work Savvy explored the approach managers may adopt when handling stress within the workforce. Lauren Harkin, Senior Associate at Withy King specialising in employment law, considered the legal implications and risk for employers dealing with mental ill-health in the workplace. Lauren also provided practical advice about how to manage absenteeism and performance as a result of mental ill health.

James Phipps, Chief Executive of Excalibur, addressed delegates and expressed his view that employee engagement is important in supporting workforce wellbeing and resilience.

Melanie Richens, Chair of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network and tutor at the UK College of Personal Development in Swindon, welcomed delegates and introduced guest speakers. She said: “We were delighted with the turnout and interest from local businesses which underlined our belief that mental health at work is now a top concern for all businesses in this area. Arclite House was a superb venue and we delighted by the welcome shown to the network. We would encourage local employers to get involved with our network events planned for the rest of the year.”

Mike Godfrey, Deputy Chair of the network and Chair of the Business West Swindon Initiative, said: “Supporting businesses and increasing the awareness of mental wellbeing is a key objective of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network and this session helped managers appreciate the importance of communications skills when handling cases of stress in the workforce. A professional and thoughtful approach from managers can go a long way in reducing cases of long-term stress at work and avoiding the costly implications of employment law at some point down the line.”

After the session Lauren Harkin from Withy King commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed speaking at the Mental Health@Work event this morning to highlight not only the employment law issues but also to explain to Swindon businesses why mental health and wellbeing is so important in the workplace. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of mental health, and it was fantastic to see the support and interest from local businesses. It was particularly good to see the focus that many businesses now have on promoting employee wellbeing and good mental health, and to hear the success stories as far as business growth and increased productivity are concerned.   The Swindon Mindful Employer Network are doing a fantastic job by organising these events.”

James Phipps added: “It was great to see so many businesses attend and engage on such an important topic of mental health at work.”

The Mayor of Swindon Cllr Andrew Bennett was guest of honour. Excalibur and the Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire supported this network session.

For more information about this event please contact:

Pictured above: Hosts and speakers at the Swindon Mindfulness seminar from left, James Phipps, CEO of Excalibur IT, Melanie Richens, Suzanne Baxter, Lauren Harkin, Lisa Morris, the Mayor of Swindon Cllr Andrew Bennett, Dr Donna Lovell