Workers worried about speaking out about their mental health

See Me staff launch the charity's new campaign
See Me staff launch the charity's new campaign

Workplaces across Scotland are being encouraged to change their culture, as newly published stats reveal nearly half of Scottish workers think people in their work wouldn’t speak about their mental health for fear of discrimination from their colleagues.

See Me, the national programme to end mental health discrimination, is launching a new campaign, working with employers to improve mental health, so people feel safe to speak out if they are struggling.

A YouGov survey of 1165 Scottish workers, commissioned by See Me, found 46 per cent disagreed that someone in their work would be well supported by management who are trained to help and advise people with mental health problems. However 31 per cent said that had personally experienced a mental health problem.

See Me said the figures demonstrate that workers have serious concerns on talking about their mental health.

To change this, they are encouraging organisations to join their See Me in Work programme as well as launching a hard hitting campaign, The Power of Okay, which includes a poem that will appear on cinema screens, about the isolation people feel when they can’t speak out at work.

Ian Greenhill, one of the founders of production company Something Something, wrote and performed the poem, based on his own experiences, and also directed and produced the video with partner Jordan Laird.

He said: “I personally think it’s important to start the discussion about mental health and the simple start-off point of ‘okay’ seemed really powerful.

“We just want a discussion to be started rather than people being scared of saying the wrong thing and just not saying anything.

“If we all start out at that base level of human kindness, I think the world - and workplace - would be a lot better.”

The See Me in Work programme works with employers to create inclusive and welcoming cultures where there is a good understanding of mental health. This includes working with senior management, improving policies and training all staff.

The programme also looks at how much money companies could save by improving the mental health of their employees, reducing absences and staff turnover.

Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, added: “You don’t have to be an expert to speak about mental health, just asking someone if they are okay can be a powerful thing.

“In the workplace, there needs to be enough trust and openness for people with mental health problems to feel confident enough to talk, without the fear that they will be stigmatised and discriminated against.

Thomas Saveall won the Project Spotlight Volunteer award at the Citizens Advice Scotland conference. He was presented with a silver Quaich by HRH Princess Anne. Picture - Stewart Attwood''''All images � Stewart Attwood Photography 2019.  All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission. No Syndication Permitted.

Taylor Wimpey have confirmed directly with local Councillor Nathan Wilson that the organisation retains its commitment to building a park and ride at Shieldmuir Train Station. In response to recent enquiries made by Councillor Wilson, Taylor Wimpey have advised that engagement is taking place with Network Rail over the latter’s approval procedures and that once this process is complete, work will be able to begin on site. The developer has informed the Motherwell Councillor that during the period of investigation undertaken since the commencement of building work was delayed in January 2018, an unrecorded service chamber has been discovered on site. The project cannot move forward until further clarification is provided on the nature of the service chamber and Taylor Wimpey are in the process of commissioning a contractor to assess the situation. The developer’s initial judgement is that this is likely a redundant service. A senior representative of the organisation has also informed Councillor Wilson that a member of the Taylor Wimpey production team will be sent out to inspect the vacant land following a request he made at the beginning of 2019 for maintenance work to be carried out on site should construction of the park and ride remain some time away. Councillor Nathan Wilson said: “Taylor Wimpey have communicated to me directly that the park and ride facility is a project that the organisation remains committed to delivering. “However, it goes without saying that the lengthy delay is still very disappointing and frustrating. “An unrecorded service chamber has been identified on site and progress is unable to be made until this has been investigated. “Taylor Wimpey have relayed to me that an on-site inspection of the vacant land will take place and I hold to the view that maintenance work should be carried out in the short term to improve it’s current condition. “I will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders and re-inforce to them the importance of the park and ride project locally. Motherwell and Wishaw CAB takes home 40 per cent of the prizes

“It is crucial that leadership in promoting better mental health comes from the top and staff are supported by policies and in practice.

“It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of a mental health condition, but if people don’t feel they will be supported by management, as the figures show, then people won’t be able to speak about important issues.

The Power of Okay campaign will be shown in cinemas, online and on radio through November and December.

See the Power of Okay film here: