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Practical help that supports mental health

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A whitepaper released on world mental health day on October 10th by automotive charity Ben, found that mental health is still one of the biggest issues affecting the industry’s workforce and could cost employers as much as £1.2bn a year. The report provides practical solutions for employers on how to support their staff’s mental health.

The paper highlights that when it comes to workplace issues, the mental health of employees can still be a taboo subject, but Ben can help address this by working with employers through its Ben4Business programme. 

Ben’s new whitepaper draws on findings from many sources, including Ben’s own survey that asked hundreds of employees from the industry to identify key health and wellbeing issues affecting them. In 2018, 52% of requests for help from Ben’s helpline related to mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, a 23% increase on the previous year. The evidence in the report paints a picture of an industry that is still struggling with mental health issues. 

CRITICAL RESPONSE SERVICE 

The charity provides a Critical Response Service, to help employers support their staff in times of crisis. The service is free and provides appropriate, often immediate, support for employees when they experience an unexpected or traumatic incident or event. 

This specialist service supports employees who have recently experienced: 

  • Death of a colleague or customer
  • Serious injury to a member of staff or customer
  • Physical or psychological threat (life threatening risk or
    situations of extreme violence)
  • Incidents where the circumstances are so unusual or the
    sights and sounds so distressing, that individuals need support to cope with the trauma experienced.

 

Last year, Ben’s Critical response service supported over 140 automotive industry employees in response to a critical incident. To date, the service has seen Ben predominantly supporting employers and employees who have been affected by a colleague taking their own life. 

As part of the service, Ben provides: 

  • Employer guidance, support and reassurance from a single point of contact
  • Employee briefings providing awareness on emotional responses and coping strategies
  • Assessing the wellbeing of individuals who have been affected, through 1:1 engagement meetings
  • Referral pathway for ongoing support (such as counselling) for individuals when needed
  • Specialist information and self-help resources for employers and employees.

 

Rachel Clift, Health & Wellbeing Director, said: “While businesses do everything possible to minimise risk to staff or customers, there are occasions when a traumatic incident happens. These incidents can impact everyone who was directly, or indirectly, involved and cause emotional distress.

“At Ben, we understand that, when a traumatic incident occurs, it’s essential to deal with the situation promptly and efficiently. Employers need to gauge the reaction of their employees and assess the impact of the incident on their wellbeing. That’s where we come in – we’re here to support employers and their employees every step of the way.

“A stark reality is that we have mostly supported people after a colleague has taken their own life. The industry has a high proportion of male employees and men are around three times more likely to commit suicide than women. We have a responsibility to look after our own – our automotive industry people. We encourage all automotive employers to come forward and work with us to support their people in times of need.”

Sarah Rowlands, HR Manager at VWG Division, Sytner Group, said: “The help Ben provided to us recently was invaluable. Following the critical incident we had at one of our sites, we asked for Ben’s support and I didn’t expect for the team to be with us so quickly. Colleagues have felt supported through the grief they have been feeling and I have felt better equipped to help them. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you to the Ben team.” 

Are you an employer who is ready to support the mental health of your employees or looking for support with a critical incident in your workshop? Then contact Ben via www.ben.org.uk/ben4business, or call Ben’s helpline on 08081 311 333.

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