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How to beat stress and keep the mind healthy

Two thirds of people in Britain will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-18th May), the British Safety Council is offering employers’ tools and advice which they can use to help their employees manage stress and deal with mental health issues.  

According to the research by the Mental Health Foundation, two thirds of people in Britain will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, and stress is a key factor in this, hence the focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

The latest HSE statistics (2016/2017) provide further evidence of the size of the problem: stress, depression and anxiety account for 49% of working days lost in Britain every year as a result of ill health. This is 12.5m days every year. In comparison, musculoskeletal disorders account for 35% of lost days. 

The British Safety Council, whose vision is that no-one should be injured or made ill at work, recognises that great progress has been made in Britain on addressing safety issues, but there is still significant work to be done on wellbeing and health, particularly mental health. 

More recently, the British Safety Council has increased its focus on workplace health and well-being, including mental health. Last year, the charity helped to launch Mates in Mind, which provides a joined-up approach for employers when addressing mental health in the construction and construction-related industries. Mates in Mind is now working with over 100 organisations supporting more than 80,000 employees.

In February 2018, using its training expertise, the British Safety Council, launched a range of mental health training courses which are designed to start conversations about mental health and support employees who are experiencing mental ill-health. These courses are now available in both classroom and online formats. 

To help employees manage stress more effectively, the charity is also launching a range of online wellbeing courses, including Stress Awareness for employees and managers, Resilience for building physical and emotional resilience and Mindfulness for use at work and home. 

The organisation will also offer free taster sessions of its Start the Conversation and Manage the Conversation courses in London, Birmingham and Manchester in June. They are aimed at employers who may wish to book these courses for their staff. 

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