How Mobile Mini continues to raise Mental Health awareness
In our latest blog, Louise Arnold, People and Strategic Director, marks the national Mental Health Awareness Week by sharing some of the ways Mobile Mini UK supports staff to manage general wellbeing, resilience and mental health.
Over to Louise …
For the last five years, Mobile Mini has provided mental health skills training for managers as part of our number one Golden Rule, ‘People are our most Valuable Asset’. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that mental health awareness has been brought to the forefront of many minds.
Unexpected changes to working environments, being restricted to homes and not having simple pleasures such as a holiday to look forward to, can all have a major impact on a person’s wellbeing. It is arguably more important than ever for businesses such as ours to keep raising awareness around mental health and attempt to remove the stigma around asking for help.
At Mobile Mini, we recognise that everyone will face difficult situations whether that’s in work or at home, and it is important that we do everything we can to protect our colleagues and invest in everyone’s wellbeing. We are keen as a Company though, to not just focus on mental health support, it is about building the resilience and mental strength of our employees in advance of any issues so that they are better equipped to cope.
Broadening our support
At Mobile Mini, 7% of our employees are now qualified Mental Health First Aiders and they are present across all levels and every department of the business. We regularly include the contact details of these 27 members of staff in our internal communications, run wellbeing awareness campaigns each month and have designed and issued posters to all branches and our support centre to make finding someone to talk to easy and accessible. Starting right at the top, from our MD we continue to ensure that people are available whenever a colleague needs support.
We regularly attempt to raise funds for the Lighthouse Club construction industry charity, who have provided emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support to construction workers and their families for 65 years. It was through this fantastic charity that we were put in touch with Workplace Mental Health Training. WMH Training deliver courses created by Mental Health First Aid England, the courses teach employees how to notice behaviours in their colleagues that might indicate a mental health issue. They cover topics such as looking out for changes, how to start a conversation on the subject, improving listening skills, providing moral support without judgement and normalising mental health discussion to de-stigmatise the topic.
Understanding our desire to equip the organisation with more Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs), WMH Training provided courses exclusive to Mobile Mini staff in two groups during December 2020 and January 2021. Due to COVID-19, this was conducted virtually and split into four half-day sessions over two weeks. On the importance of businesses like Mobile Mini shining a light on Mental Health awareness, WMH Training owner and trainer Bill Ford said, “On average, 8% of suicides each year are from people working in the construction sector, making it one of the worst affected industries when it comes to mental health-related incidents. Around 25% of workplace absences are recorded as due to stress and seeing as many people do not reveal this is the true reason for taking time out, the actual percentage is likely far greater. There are a number of reasons why this might be the case, but it is clear that businesses involved in this area have an urgent need to help change the stigma around mental health. Mental Health conditions recovery time tends to be substantially longer than physical impairments too, so even beyond an ethical need, it is incredibly important for businesses to have the right levels of support available.
“I was impressed with the understanding and commitment that Mobile Mini showed towards Mental Health support and their decision to expand the amount of MHFA’s registered within the company. Every person that attended our sessions really bought into the culture of raising awareness and were keen to spread the message throughout the business. There is no doubt in my mind that the company is doing more than just seeing to be involved but has a genuine desire to foster change and create a happy and positive working environment for their staff.”
Opportunities for all
At Mobile Mini, we do not want to just support our staff when they feel low but equip them with the tools needed to build resilience. Caring for someone after they find themselves in a crisis is incredibly important, but it is just as important to provide pre-emptive wellbeing that may help them avoid reaching that point.
From this year, a wellbeing toolkit is made available to all new Mobile Mini employees from the very first day they begin to work with us. We recently invested in the award-winning IHasco video-based eLearning platform. This extensive library of accredited courses provides high-quality Health & Safety and HR Compliance eLearning modules, including on Mental Health Awareness. Every single one of our employees took part in a training module on Halogen, the only course of its kind which has achieved an IOSH approval and has a whole section on building resilience and developing a wellbeing toolkit.
Our Employee Assistance Programme is available through Perkbox and includes up to four structured counselling sessions with a qualified counsellor each year. Since April of this year, every employee at Mobile Mini has been entitled to a new Health Cash Plan, allowing them to claim some money back for dentistry, physio and alternative therapies like reflexology, reiki and Indian head massage. The Health Cash Plan is all about providing our employees with a variety of health benefits which may appeal to them, whilst also encouraging our employees to try different relaxation techniques and therapies.
We have changed our approach to flexible working to better support work-life balances and employees have more freedom to buy and sell holiday says amongst other benefits. We have even begun running our own wellness library service, offering to send out books from our head office to any employee across the UK, so they can read up on topics such as mindfulness, overcoming negativity and making positive lifestyle changes.
These are just some of the ways we are regularly encouraging staff to overcome mental health stigmas, build insight and take advantage of useful mini exercises, practical strategies and expert recommendations. We are proud of the steps we have taken so far and look forward to sharing more developments as time progresses.
If you would like to speak to us about any of the topics raised above, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org