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Co-op encourages colleagues to talk more about how they’re feeling with new mental health training

Co-op launches new Mental Health Policy following a growing trend for mental health related absences in the business

Co-op introduces Wellbeing Action Plan to all colleagues reminding them what’s required to stay well at work

With research suggesting each year 1 in 4 of the population experience a mental health issue and that 17% of us are living with a serious mental health concern – the Co-op is encouraging colleagues to talk more about how they’re feeling, by embarking on a rigorous training programme to provide advice, treatment and steps to best support employees with mental health conditions.

Designed in partnership with ‘Let’s Get Healthy’ the programme is designed to develop and empower Co op’s line management population. Aimed at improving their basic knowledge on mental health, looking at the appropriate ways to convey this to their colleagues, whilst also bridging the gap between Co op managers and Co-op’s external health partners.

The team, comprising of 39 Employee Relations (ER) colleagues were upskilled with two modules, through a series of engaging workshops. Module one provided:

An overview of mental health, the clinical definitions and how to distinguish between myths and facts

How to spot the signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression

Understanding sources of support, treatment for stress, anxiety and depression

Understanding the role of work in contributing to mental health and the latest research available

Learning how to impart their knowledge, whilst managing and recognising their own emotional responses to callers

Module two provided:

Learnings about socratic questions – a disciplined questioning method that can be used to explore more complex issues – and when to use this method

Instilling confidence to handle circumstances appropriately

Learning helpful techniques for dealing with mental distress

Planning how to use their knowledge and skills consistently and embed their learning

Each module called ‘Heads Up’ was 2.5 hours and all attendees were given a workbook to take back into their day job to help continue their learning on the job.

Sadie Ashbee, Co-op’s ERS Delivery Manager said:

“Our country has seen a sharp increase in the number of people suffering from mental health issues over the years. As an employer of 69,000 people, it’s important we remain proactive in our approach to ensure our managers are fully equipped to handle mental health issues that may arise in the colleagues they are responsible for.

“The new programme provides managers with guidance on how to take the right course of action, for us as a co-op it’s about doing what matters most for our colleagues.”

The Co-op has also recently launched a mental health policy illustrating its commitment to colleagues, detailing how it will support them should they experience mental health concerns, whilst encouraging them to talk about it to raise awareness of the issues.

This is in addition to putting more proactive approaches in place, starting with providing colleagues with a Wellbeing Action Plan to remind colleagues how to stay well at work, and what managers can do to support and help colleagues address any health needs.

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