The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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Richmond Foundation: Promoting mental health at the workplace

Sunday, 23 June 2024, 08:30 Last update: about 26 days ago

Written by Sean Montebello

Mental health remains a vital and deservedly prominent topic of discussion and focus. With increasing awareness and understanding, society is becoming more empathetic and supportive towards people struggling with mental health issues. This positive shift extends to the workplace, where employers are recognising the importance of creating a mentally healthy environment for their employees.

Richmond Foundation strives to push organisations to prioritise such mental health initiatives by providing resources and support to address the unique challenges faced in the ever-evolving work landscape.

Among the changes in the workplace is a greater emphasis on intergenerational understanding and collaboration. The people from different age groups, which make a company's workforce naturally, all have their own experiences, perspectives and mental health needs. By promoting intergenerational knowledge-sharing and mentorship programmes, workplaces can harness the strengths of each age group while nurturing an atmosphere of support and understanding.

Many organisations are also understanding the importance of directly tackling and improving mental health within their workplaces. Employers are recognising that mental health is not solely an individual person's responsibility, but rather a collective effort that requires a supportive environment.

As a result, many companies are investing in training programmes, such as the Mental Health First Aid course taught by the Richmond Foundation, to equip managers with the skills needed to identify and address mental health concerns among their team members.

Additionally, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and counselling services, such as Richmond Foundation's Healthy Minds Work initiative, are increasingly becoming available in workplaces, providing professional support to employees facing mental health challenges.

Alongside a growing awareness of the importance of mental health, workplaces are also promoting a healthy work-life balance. People seek companies which provide flexible working arrangements, allowing for adequate time off for rest and rejuvenation.

Recognising that burnout and stress can significantly impact mental health, companies are also implementing policies that encourage employees to take breaks, engage in physical activity and pursue hobbies outside of work. These initiatives can take the form of sports or wellness allowances, which encourage such activity among other benefits.

Internet or app-based services are becoming increasingly common, having the potential to significantly impact mental health in the workplace. Virtual therapy sessions and interventions, such as those through the Foundation's OLLI.chat service, have become more accessible and widely used, providing employees with convenient and confidential avenues for seeking help.

By prioritising work-life balance and a supportive office culture, organisations are fostering an environment that promotes overall well-being and reduces the risk of mental health issues arising from excessive work-related stress.

Richmond Foundation provides comprehensive mental health training programmes catered to both individuals and organisations aimed directly at fostering such an environment.

The Foundation has been licensed to train and teach the Mental Health First Aid course since 2015. The course serves to equip people with the skills and knowledge to provide others with timely and informed help in response to a mental health crisis.

The Foundation also runs the Healthy Minds Work initiative. People working at companies, which are enrolled in the programme, have access to qualified professionals, information and research tools, services which promote mental health and in turn, productivity.

The programme is organised into four services, each addressing different mental health support and consulting needs for both employees and employers.

Richmond also offers standalone session-based psychological support services by qualified therapists, counsellors and psychologists to anyone who feels the need for support. In select cases, the Foundation also provides these services for free or at subsidised rates for people limited by a very low income.

A growing understanding of mental health issues by the public, coupled with increased efforts by employers to create supportive environments, serve as heartening developments for improved mental health in the workplace.

Initiatives which prioritise the issue ensure that people feel valued and supported in their work settings. By fostering intergenerational collaboration, implementing comprehensive mental health initiatives, promoting work-life balance and leveraging technology for support, organisations can contribute to a mentally healthy future for all employees.

If you are in need of support, reach out to Richmond Foundation by calling 1770 or chat with one of our qualified professionals online through OLLI.chat. Richmond currently offers these services between 8am and 8pm on weekdays and from 8am to 4pm on Saturdays.

The Richmond Foundation is a full member of the Malta Health Network - www.maltahealthnetwork.org


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