Our mental health employment support services are teaching local business leaders how to support staff with their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

The training is being offered to employers and managers in the county in partnership with county business forum Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF).

Healthy Minds Employment Support Service and the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) in Buckinghamshire are two services which people find and remain in work when experiencing poor mental health which may be affecting their employment.

Today the services are hosting people to have important conversations about mental health in the workplace, offering insights to help what can be a daunting responsibility for managers. It is the second in a series of webinar training sessions being run to support people working in the county during the pandemic.

The teams have also been share handy tips, advice and techniques in the forum’s news to members and in a series of webinars for business leaders.

Healthy Minds employment advisor Adebola Ajayi said: “Now, more than ever, we need to support one another, our work colleagues and employees, as we live with the stress and strain on our mental health that the coronavirus pandemic brings.

“For businesses it really is good sense to support employees and making working environments as supportive as possible. In the UK there is a large annual cost to employers of between £33 billion and £42 billion with additional costs from sickness absence and staff turnover. Over half of the cost comes from presenteeism – when individuals are less productive due to poor mental health in work.”

IPS team leader Shelley Monaghan said: “We work to support people to stay in work and overcome challenges they may be facing as they recover from a period of mental ill health or live with a long-term condition – making sure businesses retain employees they have invested in.”

Buckinghamshire Business First managing director Philippa Batting said: “Employers are uniquely placed to identify and support people through mental health challenges. By arming themselves with information and resources and providing a comfortable space for employees to speak to owners, managers or trained colleagues, employers can help people understand and overcome any issues they are facing. These may be difficult conversations, but they are very necessary conversations. Employees support a business every day through their work; it is important that a business supports its employees in return.”

Healthy Mind’s Employment Support Service is part of Healthy Minds – Buckinghamshire’s free NHS talking therapy service provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

The employment support service is delivered by Richmond Fellowship’s Employment Advisors and supports people experiencing common mental health challenges like stress, anxiety and depression when it is affecting their work. They also support employers to support staff.

Individual Placement and Support offers a unique service for people over 18 who are not in work and are under the care of our adult mental health teams or early intervention service. It allows patients who want a paid job the chance to work with one of Oxford Health’s employment specialists to reach their employment goals and find a working environment focused on individual preferences.