Edition 54 – Staying Well: Prevention and Reslience
With the removal of some of the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions both employers and employees will be keen to continue reducing the spread of the virus – and the anxieties that come with it. Mental health has been a priority throughout the pandemic.
A recent report by Mind says for many people who had mental health problems before the pandemic, these problems became more severe during the pandemic. The report also says that for many people the lifting of restrictions brings hope that their mental health will get better, but notes that many are worried about the transition to seeing others and being near others.
The widespread acknowledgement that the pandemic had affected many people’s mental health made it easier for some people to talk about their own mental health and to feel better in the process.
In this issue we will share insights from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Public Health Northamptonshire and The Poetry Project on the importance of talking….about reducing the spread of the virus, looking after our mental health and positive messages to improve our mental health and wellbeing.
Talking ….to workers about prevention
• The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently issued guidance on talking to workers about preventing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidance is targeted at
employers but will help employees and the self-employed too.
• Issues covered in the guidance include:
The benefits of consulting workers
Considerations for supporting vulnerable workers
Dealing with the challenges of returning to the workplace
• Consulting workers about health and safety issues such as reducing the transmission of COVID-19 is not only a legal requirement but has the following advantages:
• The employer can explain any changes made to help employees work safely and help the business continue operating safely.
• Workers can tell the employer any workplace risks that concern them and they can influence decisions about workplace health and safety.
• The employer can listen to the workers and reach an agreed course of action to tackle challenges.
• Cultural competence improves as the employer recognises and takes into account the individuality, background, beliefs, culture and specific circumstances of individuals.
Supporting vulnerable workers
• Returning to the workplace can make people who have been shielding and people who live with them very anxious. It is better to explain how they will be supported in the workplace.
• For example, explaining that support to work from home is available, where possible, or to be assigned different duties, can be of help to these workers.
• Older males, people with certain health conditions and some minority ethnic groups have been
shown to be at higher risk of infection or likely to be more seriously ill if they catch the coronavirus
(COVID-19). Apart from ensuring that everyone works safely, these workers can be supported by:
explaining how the employer is managing the risks from COVID-19.
Engaging with and talking to them about any concerns they may have
Returning to the workplace
• When workers have not been in the workplace for a while, they can be anxious about changes that have taken place in the workplace. Talking to them about working safely before they return to work is helpful.
• Anxiety may be caused by the timing of the return to the workplace, new working procedures and what to expect or do on arriving at work.
• Employers can discuss specific concerns and talk about adjustments such as additional handwashing facilities and initiatives to avoid overcrowding by staggering the start and finish times.
• Explaining ongoing reviews of health and safety and taking opportunities to discuss any possible new ways of working
Wellbeing and Resilience
• A significant number of people who took part in a recent survey conducted by Mind thought their mental health would improve once COVID restrictions were lifted.
• Respondents to the survey also said they were most worried about the transition to seeing and being near others as the COVID restrictions are eased.
• Public Health Northamptonshire will be running workshops to support conversations about wellbeing and resilience in the workplace.
• Public Health Northamptonshire are currently putting the finishing touches to a short video to support these conversations about wellbeing and resilience.
• To hear more about the workshops, please contact: WorkPlaceHealth.NCC@northnorthants.gov.uk
Positive Messages for Mental Wellbeing
• A Northamptonshire poet, James McInerney, has been sharing what he describes as, ‘positive, empowering and motivational messages’ to promote wellbeing and raise awareness of mental health issues – in the UK and many other countries.
• Through The Poetry Project, James aims to break down the stigma associated with poor mental health and is keen to make talking about mental health easier.
• The Poetry Project say their messages ‘are designed to make people stop and think,’ and they are keen to engage communities and businesses in Northamptonshire
• The messages can be displayed in public spaces, at business premises and shared on social media.
Positive Messages in Construction
The Poetry Project – Visible Positive Messages
Positive Messages for Mental Wellbeing
• “Embrace the things that scare you. You should never fear the unknown, even strangers can end up becoming the best of friends.”
• “Everyone is different; we all have our mountain to climb. The dizzy heights that leave people breathless can also, for some, exist at its base.”
• “Recognise your inner strength. Flowers are often pulled from the earth but they still have the roots and the ability within them to regrow, you do too.”
• “The kind of people that are stood before the storm, understand the need for change, quicker than those that hide from it.”
• “When we embrace what we fear the most, we grow as a person in the same way that a flower grows before it blooms.”
For more information….
• HSE guidance on talking to employees can be found at:
Talking with your workers about preventing coronavirus (COVID-19) – Overview (hse.gov.uk)
• The latest COVID-19 information can be found here: Coronavirus local guidance – Countywide services (northamptonshire.gov.uk
• For The Poetry Project please contact: James McInerney Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 07927630574
• For more information on the upcoming wellbeing and resilience workshops, please email: WorkPlaceHealth.NCC@northnorthants.gov.uk
Reputable information around Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here:
We are here to help give support and advice around maintaining the wellbeing of your staff at all times, but especially in these times of uncertainty.
For more information and support for supporting your staff in your workplace WorkPlaceHealth.NCC@northnorthants.gov.uk
We are not an emergency service, Dial 999 In a life-threatening emergency and ask for an ambulance.
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