Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
H7. Mental Health and Wellbeing
17 December, 2014
Submitted: 22 January, 2015
Defra has taken a proactive approach to dealing with mental health issues and has a Wellbeing Framework in place which identifies the importance of a holistic approach to wellbeing.
The department signed the Time to Change pledge in March 2014 and one of the integral parts of the Time to Change action plan was the establishment of a Break the Stigma group which raises awareness of and supports people with mental health issues. This group is going from strength to strength and has been integral to enabling people to talk openly about Mental Health in the workplace. Current and continuing plans include:
• Delivering stress awareness and resilience workshops and encouraging employees and teams to consider their own stressors and tools to manage and reduce stress
• Working with HR policy to improve guidance on Mental Health – the reasonable adjustment guidance provided by CSEP includes the principles of the Responsibility Deal’s Workplace Adjustment Guide.
• Liaising closely with our Occupational Health and Employee Assistance Providers to improve the offering and support for employees – e.g. a new online Mindfulness course will soon be offered as an alternative to traditional counselling.
• Raising awareness of health issues and the importance of good general health through a calendar of wellbeing activities in line with national events. E.g. a health kiosk is touring 15 Defra sites to provide employees with BMI, body fat, blood pressure and other health assessments.
• Holding specific mental health events to raise awareness - such as Workplace Stress, Time to Talk Day, Mental Health Awareness Week
• Discussing stress and mental health issues with the Senior Leadership to ensure a similar approach is cascaded throughout the organisation.
• Working with our Diversity specialist to implement the findings from the external disability report, which will be incorporated in our ongoing Talent Action Plan.