New pledge on young people in the workplace

The health at work network is announcing a new pledge that all employers can sign up to – to better support young people lead healthier lives when they start their working career.

The network’s Chair Dame Carol Black is pleased to announce that a number of companies and organisations have signed up to the Young People in the Workplace pledge including, Mars, dairy company Rodda’s, leading foodservice supplier 3663, contract caterer Bartlett Mitchell and the Department of Health. They are also joined by Mental Health First Aid England, Community Interest Company (MHFA), along with 15 local primary schools and sports clubs in the North East.

MHFA will work with these 15 organisations to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid, a training programme designed specifically for those people that teach, work, live with or care for young people aged 11-18.  This will help to promote the health and wellbeing of attendees who will already be or soon be making the transition into the workplace. These organisations will also make a similar commitment for their own staff – as part of their Responsibility Deal pledge.

Dame Carol Black said:

“Starting your first job is daunting for almost everyone and is stressful for many.  It is a time when life changes, with new daily routines, new lifestyles and habits that can last, affecting health and wellbeing for years ahead.

“So it’s important that young people, still at an impressionable age, are encouraged and supported in many ways, and especially to eat well, take regular physical activity, drink sensibly, avoid or stop smoking and to look after their mental health.

“The workplace offers us a major opportunity to make sure this happens, at every age but especially for the young.

The pledge wording asks employers to “make a commitment to young people at the start of their working lives.  We will provide information and support to help them take personal responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.  For example, we will promote the importance of exercise, eating well, and good mental health; and we will help those that drink to do so sensibly and those that smoke to stop.”

The workplace is an ideal setting for communicating messages about health and wellbeing.  By introducing young workers to the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, they are more likely to maintain these behaviours throughout their working life and beyond, passing this knowledge on to future co-workers, friends and family.

Poppy Jaman, Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid England, Community Interest Company, said:

“Our programme of work focuses equally on both physical and menta health. We are going to work with a range of local partners to get people talking about young people’s mental health in a way that is  positive and resilience building.  This programme is a stepping stone towards creating a mentally healthy young population.  It is imperative that we invest in the health of our young people, there is no health without mental health and this work is a sustainable regional approach to that end.”

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