Royal Mail understands the importance of having mentally well staff
With around 148,000 employees delivering the post to 29 million UK addresses, safeguarding its workforce’s mental health is taken seriously at the Royal Mail Group. Its group director of safety, health, wellbeing and sustainability, Shaun Davis, explains: “We have a community-based approach to employment, with our average employee regarding us as a long-term employer, so it’s important we look after them.”
To do this, the company runs a health and wellbeing programme called Feeling First Class, which includes a strand specifically for mental health issues, First Class Mental Health.
“There are a number of elements but the main strategy is to normalise mental health,” says Davis. “No one has an issue with a diabetic employee having to take time out to check their blood sugar. So we need to make it the same for employees with mental health issues.”
Central to the strategy is awareness training for managers. “This is very much about prevention,” adds Davis. “If a manager is concerned about an employee they can refer them to the employee assistance programme or HR for further support. We also work with OH Assist, which can provide specialist support such as cognitive behavioural therapy.”
Also helping to tackle the stigma is a series of five videos covering topics such as recognising and managing stress. “We drip feed these to employees in areas such as canteens and work stations. They’re informative but also help to normalise mental health,” Davis adds.
Royal Mail has also signed up to mental health charity Mind’s Time to Change pledge, with both of its trade unions acting as signatories alongside the company’s chief executive, Moya Greene.
“It’s positive to have the support of the unions as well as our chief executive,” adds Davis. “This shows to our employees that their mental health and wellbeing is important to us.”