Mates in Mind: Getting Ahead on Mental Health

Mates in Mind:

Getting Ahead on Mental Health

Mates in Mind: Getting Ahead on Mental Health - Joseph Homes

For all of us at Joseph Homes, collaboration is a huge part of what we do. Our developments wouldn’t be the places they are without the forward-thinking suppliers, the delivery firms and the neighbouring communities who help us make it all possible.

One of our most valued and longstanding partners is Mates in Mind, a UK charity working to support mental health in workplaces all over the country.

We caught up with their Managing Director, James Rudoni, to find out a bit more about how they started out, what drives them, and how their work is redefining the way we see mental health in the workplace.

Starting the Conversation.

Formed in 2016 by the Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG) with support from the British Safety Council, the charity began life in the construction sector, raising awareness of mental health in an industry that isn’t accustomed to openly discussing issues like stress, depression and anxiety.

“There is evidence that some industries, like construction, are at a higher risk when it comes to poor mental health,”

says James. “Factors like job insecurity, long hours, working away from home, a predominantly male workforce – these can all make construction industry workers more vulnerable to mental ill health.”

In response to this need, Mates in Mind set out to work alongside construction firms, giving employers the understanding, skills and tools, as well as the awareness and training they need to address the stigma surrounding the issue. Their goal is to start more supportive and engaged conversations around stress, depression, anxiety, and general mental wellbeing in the workplace.

“We’re starting the conversation,” says James. “It’s all about enabling organisations and individuals to play their part in busting the taboos around mental health at work.”

Helping Individuals. Helping Organisations.

Although the charity was born out of a need in the construction industry, its reach now spans the wider construction and associated industries, including quarries, logistics and manufacturing to name a few.

“We work with companies of all sizes, to help them improve the mental health of their workforce,” says James. “We know that individuals need to be made more aware of the support available to them. It’s just the same when it comes to businesses.

“The majority of managers and senior leaders are aware that employee wellbeing is their responsibility. They just don’t know how to help. From a business perspective, this is a significant problem.”

Indeed, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 44% of all work-related illnesses in 2017/18 were due to stress, depression or anxiety. And for UK employers, the cost of neglecting workplace mental health comes to approximately £35 billion.

“This is where we can really have an impact,” adds James. “So often businesses want to do the right thing but just don’t know where to start. People want to work in places where they feel supported and valued. We don’t want to see businesses losing out because they don’t know how to properly support their employees.”

Personal Support

When a business joins Mates in Mind, they get a dedicated Support Manager, who helps the management team understand why they should address workplace mental health. From here, they help the management team implement a plan, before supporting the delivery of this plan over time.

“Our Support Managers really get to know the culture of each company,” says James. “They often help businesses join up what elements they may already have in place. Then they use our assessment tool to deliver defined and appropriate workplace activities, effectively communicating these support structures throughout the organisation.”

“Another benefit of working with us,” adds James. “Is that we provide opportunities for individuals to find alternative sources of support, like The National Counselling Society (NCS), who have a list of recognised and approved counsellors and therapists around the country. Anyone who’s gone through our training can get free initial access to these NCS services.”

Working Together

By teaming up with the likes of NCS, Samaritans and Helpline, Mates in Mind are helping to build a united front against mental ill health. And it’s working. They’re working with over 300 businesses, and with their partners and Business Champions they’re reaching over 200,000 people.

“We’re delighted with our progress,”

says James. “But there’s much more to do. We want to reach 75% of the construction sector by 2025. We’re dedicated to bringing about a real shift in the way mental health is discussed at work.”

At Joseph Homes, we’re hugely proud to be part of the Mates in Mind mission. In teaming up with them and their partners, we ensure every employee at Joseph Homes has access to the support they need. And at the same time, we help to tackle the silence that surrounds the subject of mental health in the workplace, getting the conversation out in the open.

Find out more about Mates in Mind here.

And if you’re struggling with mental health, remember you’re not alone. Mates in Mind work with a number of organisations who offer free, confidential, 24/7 support over the phone. You can find all the details here.

Mates in Mind: Getting Ahead on Mental Health - Joseph Homes Mates in Mind: Getting Ahead on Mental Health - Joseph Homes
Mates in Mind: Getting Ahead on Mental Health - Joseph Homes Mates in Mind: Getting Ahead on Mental Health - Joseph Homes
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