Project tackles mental health issues in the workplace

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People who have experienced mental health problems are going into workplaces across Scotland to help tackle discrimination.

The Lunch and Learn project has trained volunteers visiting organisations, speaking to employers and employees about mental health using their own experiences, to help change cultures in workplaces.

The project has been created by SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and funded by anti-stigma programme See Me, as part of their Community Innovation Fund. It came after See Me commissioned a YouGov survey, which found that 48 per cent of workers thought people would be unlikely to disclose a mental illness over concerns for their job and 55 per cent though people would be unlikely to disclose for fear of being passed over for promotion. Workplaces remain one of the main areas where people experiencing a mental health condition still face discrimination. The project aims to help employers tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health in their workplace and employees better understand mental health and know where to seek help and support if needed.

It will also support volunteers in their recovery, increasing confidence and experience of volunteering in the workplace.

Sarah Nicholson, SAMH corporate partnerships manager, said: “We know that mental health stigma is an issue in the workplace. People with mental health problems can be subjected to systematic disadvantages in work, amongst other places.

“Through Lunch and Learn we want to help workforces gain a better understanding of mental health, discrimination, and what they can do to make a positive change. We would encourage workplaces across Midlothian, to get in touch with us to arrange a session.”

Lisa Cohen, See Me programme manager, said: “Our Power of Okay campaign is designed to get people talking about mental health, asking each other if they are okay, not ignoring someone if they are struggling. The Lunch and Learn events are a great way to get these conversations going. Employers have a legal and moral responsibility to look after the health and well-being of everyone who works for them and it is important to know how staff are being treated and also for staff to know and understand their own rights.

For more information, or to book a session, contact lunchandlearn@samh.org.uk