13th April 2022

Support in Mind Scotland is delighted to be working in partnership with Mental Health UK and Neptune Energy to deliver the ‘Rural Connections’ Project. The project aims to improve mental health and wellbeing throughout rural Scotland by providing fully funded introductory mental health awareness training to rural organisations and businesses with less than 50 members of staff. In addition, the project aims to support businesses to implement and strengthen workplace wellbeing policies/activity.

The project is funded until March 2024.

Introductory Mental Health Awareness Training

Four- hour (2×2 hour Zoom sessions) ‘An Insight into Mental Health’ courses can be delivered directly to your staff team or individuals can join an ‘Open Course’. ‘Open’ courses will be compromised of participants from a range of organisations and are a good way to access the training if you only have a few members of staff. The awareness sessions cover of the following topics:

  • What is mental health and mental illness
  • An introduction to some common mental health conditions
  • The benefits of managing stress
  • A four-step process to building safe and supportive conversations
  • How to look after you own mental health and wellbeing

Workplace Wellbeing

There has been an increasing interest in improving workplace wellbeing over the last few years, particularly in light of the Covid pandemic and the impact that it has had on our mental health. There is a strong economic reason for prioritising your employees wellbeing with over 70 million working days lost in 2019/20 due to Stress, Anxiety and Depression. According to Deloitte in 2017, if an employer invests in their employees wellbeing they could see a return on investment of up to 9 times. However, there is also a strong case for supporting the mental health of your employees as a caring and responsible employer – investing in the mental wellbeing of your staff team is beneficial for everyone.

It is often the case that employers would like to embed wellbeing within the workplace but may not have the time/resource or simply not know where to start. There are plenty of resources listed below that can help you create a wellbeing policy that include information about supporting colleagues that are off work, challenging stigma, and the ‘Mental Health at Work Commitment’. However, even taking on a few simple actions can be highly beneficial and focusing on what you ‘can do’ within your time, budget and resources is worthwhile.

Taking a first step to promoting and supporting workplace wellbeing does not have to be time-consuming or involve a cost, for example:

  • If you are a rural employer with less than 50 members of staff, then enquire about the funded mental health training above. The training can help to develop everyone’s awareness about mental health, start conversations and challenge stigma
  • Embedding mental health in your work culture – can you add wellbeing ideas to the staff meeting, a monthly ‘wellbeing café’ or even a staff survey to explore staff suggestions for improving workplace wellbeing
  • Lunch time walking or reading group
  • Staff support/supervision sessions – include a question such as ‘Where are you today mood-wise on a 1-10 scale?’ This can provide an opportunity for staff to think about and share how they are feeling
  • Tie in to local and national organisations who can provide information, support and guidance e.g., Breathing Space and Samaritans free phone helpline and web services (newsletters, payslips, intranet, staff rooms)
  • Allow a weekly ‘wellbeing window’. One working hour per week to take time for an employee’s self-care (relaxing, yoga, reading, sitting quietly with a coffee…)
  • Meeting times – schedule 50-minute meetings instead of one hour and 25 minute meetings instead of 30 minutes – this has been trialed in a national organisation that reported its benefits!

For more information about how your organisation could benefit from the funded opportunity, please click here. If you’d like to arrange a session, reach out to us and we can help you to do that. You can email us at info@caithnesschamber.com

Got a good news story you’d like to share? Get in touch with the Chamber today!

E: info@caithnesschamber.com
T: 01847 890076