Monday, 3 May 2010

Social Inclusion - why it makes sense for businesses

The business case for mental health awareness is evidenced by the increasing numbers of employers who  are commissioning mental health awareness trainings for their workforce.  Employers want trainings which enable their staff to understand more about common mental health conditions.  Understanding mental health means that staff can work better with clients and customers.  It also allows staff to feel less isolated about personal issues around health and well-being. 

Mental health awareness provides the opportunity for employers and employees to find out more about the law as it relates to employment and mental health.

Enlightened employers will seek to develop a workforce team which is happy rather than unhappy, fulfilled rather than excluded.  Courses such as MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) show that attendees often feel that one of the benefits of the training in that it allows for a safe space.  A safe space where individuals can share feelings about their personal well-being in addition to learning about the broader aspects of mental health conditions and the appropriate interventions.

In addition to mental  health, it makes solid sense for businesses to incorporate awareness of social inclusion and mainstream.  Returning to or accessing mainstream living is now a key part of the care pathway for those diagnosed with 'severe and enduring' mental health diagnoses.  It is equally important for people who may be experiencing conditions such as anxiety, phobia or stress at work.

Both groups - those in primary and secondary care - are being signposted to mainstream life rather than to special settings as a central plank of the recovery process.  The implications for any service provider - and that includes businesses - are crucial.  Businesses and services are at the receiving end of mainstream.

Clients in recovery are choosing to access their personal goals through a diverse range of outlets.  These could range from faith venues to volunteer bureaus, from retail outlets to sports centres, from recording studios to adult education colleges, from libraries to personal counselors, from training venues to department stores.

For businesses, it's not just one in four of their staff who may be experiencing mental health challenges, it's also one in four of their clients, customers and service consumers.  Mental health challenges will also have an impact on one in three families.  Disclosed or undisclosed, it's clear that mental health and well-being lie at the heart of our transactions and interactions.

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