Axminster firm’s mental health awareness campaign

Axminster Tools and Machinery MD Alan Styles with a group of employees and the signed pledge. Pictu

Axminster Tools and Machinery MD Alan Styles with a group of employees and the signed pledge. Picture: AT&M - Credit: Archant

Axminster’s biggest employer has launched a campaign to promote mental health and wellbeing for its staff.

Axminster Tools and Machinery has held a health awareness week, challenging employees to give each other mutual appreciation and engender a feeling of mental and emotional wellbeing.

Managing director Alan Styles signed a 12-month employer action plan pledge committing the company to changing the way people think and act about mental health in the workplace.

Axminster Tools' human resources (HR) team says it has become increasingly aware of the potential problems which can arise through poor mental health, including stigma and discrimination.

To this end, the company is carrying out a number of initiatives to help tackle 'this significant issue' which it says employers cannot afford to ignore.

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Axminster Tools is already working with the Axminster-based charity Arc, which specializes in recovery, through counselling, for people suffering from emotional problems.

Two Arc counselors are available if staff wish to attend workplace counselling sessions.

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Meanwhile, most managers have been on a training programme provided by Arc about mental health and all staff will be offered mental health workshops to attend, if they wish.

HR director Jane Boulton said: "As a family company, we want to help encourage openness about mental health and to erase the stigma around this. Staff should feel able to disclose their personal experiences and feel more confident about making managers or colleagues aware of their experience."

'Time to Change', the charity which is leading mental health awareness and the force behind the 'pledge', has compiled the following statistics on its website:

* One in four British workers is affected by conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress every year.

* Mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK.

* Nine out of ten people who experience mental health problems say they face sigma and discrimination which can be even more damaging.

* Some 300,000 people leave their place of work each year due to poor mental health.

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