To mark Mental Health Awareness week, Stuart Winters, CEO of healthcare at Sodexo UK & Ireland talks about the importance of supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, especially for frontline staff who can face extreme challenges every day.
He says: “The words from Craig, one of our security officers at Royal Stoke Hospital, means the world to me, and sums up the role we are playing to support our frontline people, ‘I honestly believe that if my supervisor that day hadn’t picked up on it and I hadn’t come here I don’t know where I would have been now.’”
“Knowing that the service has benefited Craig and so many people like him, makes me extremely proud.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted us all. The way we live and work has transformed in a way none of us could have imagined.
“At the frontline for over 12 months, our 6,000 strong healthcare teams have worked tirelessly at hospitals across the UK and the Sodexo network of Covid-19 test centres to deliver essential services and to keep our colleagues, patients, residents and clients safe.”
Last June, to protect the firm’s frontline teams from the additional pressure and stress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Sodexo launched a face-to-face counselling service. It was designed to reduce the impact on the psychological and emotional health of teams.
To date, more than 1,300 individual sessions and 154 group sessions focusing on mental health-related topics have been delivered to 420 employees.
Over the past year, the company has extended the service to its teams working at 31 Nuffield Health locations and for the teams at 200 Covid-19 testing centre locations.
Winters explains that the benefit and impact of counselling can be life-changing – both for employees and their families – and can also help to reduce pressure for increasingly in-demand and stretched health and social care services. It provides invaluable support with existing mental health conditions, as well as helping to detect any problems early – helping to prevent a mental health problem from emerging in the first place.
He says clients value this investment.
Tracy Bullock, chief executive of University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, explains: “What greater thing can we do for the wellbeing of staff? I am wholly supportive of the service. For staff on the frontline to be able to speak to someone who is trained who can listen to them and support them is a phenomenal success.”
Winters adds: “By partnering with experienced counsellors and psychotherapists to deliver training in addition to the core counselling service, we are equipping our team with valuable knowledge that can benefit them in their careers and their personal lives and help to create positive social impact and a healthier, more resilient community.”
Image credit | Sodexo UK & Ireland