Experts tackle mental health issues in the food industry

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  • 9 Jul

    Mental health in the food industry

    With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem during their lifetime, supporting employee mental health is a growing challenge for many employers.

    Recent figures estimate that up to 70 million workdays are lost each year in the UK due to mental health problems, costing organisations £2.4 billion pounds per year. Much of this productivity and monetary loss can be avoided through targeted health and wellbeing initiatives.

    On Tuesday 2 July our Experts Grow team hosted a free event at Rodda’s Dairy in Scorrier to showcase how organisations can spot early signs of mental health issues, provide support to their employees and promote a good work-life balance in their business.

    The day included presentations from various organisations involved in the mental health sector including Healthy Cornwall, Thrive with Ali and Valued Lives. We were also joined by Nicholas Rodda of Rodda’s Clotted Cream who discussed the measures the dairy company has taken to support good mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Initiatives introduced at Rodda’s include employee recognition cards, free fruit, additional annual leave for employee birthdays and team days and events.

    “A lot of people are happy to talk about mental health issues unless they are experiencing problems themselves. We need to encourage more individuals to discuss their issues and end the stigma around mental health. With around one in five people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, it is vital that businesses are taking measures to support employees and create a good work environment.”

    Carly Titmus (Healthy Cornwall)

    The ‘Five steps to mental wellbeing’ framework was also discussed in much detail. The framework was developed by the New Economics Foundation as a simple way of encouraging people to make alterations in their lives and improve their mental wellbeing and has been adopted by many health organisations including the NHS. The five steps to mental wellbeing are:

     

    1.   Connect – Connect with the people around you: Your family friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spent time developing these relationships.

    2.   Be active – This does not mean that you need to join a gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of tennis.

    3.   Keep learning – Learning new skills can lead to a sense of achievement and greater confidence. So why not sign up for that Spanish course, practice the guitar more or learn to cook.

    4.   Give to others – Even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you, or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering for a local charity, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you meet new people.

    5.   Take notice – Be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this ‘mindfulness’, and it can positively change the way you feel about life, and how you approach new challenges.

    More information on the five steps can be found on the NHS website.

    Our Experts Grow team are planning on hosting more events over the next few months so please check our events diary regularly for news and updates.

    Experts Grow is a free programme available to small and medium businesses in the Cornish hospitality and agri-food sectors. The programme has been developed to support both the local economy and help create progressive, attractive workplaces.