National Stress Awareness day brings Hertfordshire employers together to share best practice and build a resilient workforce

With National Stress Awareness Day(November 6th 2013) reminding employers the cost to the UK of £60 billion – 20 local employers attended a BITC Business Action on Public Health Practitioners event at the University of Hertfordshire.

Delegates were given the business case for building a resilient workforce, including the fact that "nearly three in ten employees having a mental health problem in any one year, the majority being anxiety and depressive disorders.”

The event was delivered by Business in the Community in partnership with the Hertfordshire Public Health team. It was aimed at staff in local workplaces, particularly managers responsible for health and wellbeing of staff, such as those with personnel or occupational health responsibilities.

Delegates heard from Senior Psychologist Dr Joanne Wood, of the Hertfordshire Enhanced Primary Mental Health Services, who presented on how the psychological wellbeing of an organisation and its employees can have a real impact on productivity and performance.

 Dr Wood advised delegates on the benefits of building a resilient workforce, and explained how they may wish to tackle the issue, through sharing good practice.

Carol Duff, an experienced Mental Health First Aid Trainer and Mental Health practitioner, shared her workplace experience of breaking down stigma around mental health and gave an overview of the newly launched Mental Health lite training.

Tools given to employers included information and advice on changes they could make in the workplace, such as:

  • Raising awareness of mental health conditions

  • Promoting well-being

  • Identifying early warning signs and talking at an early stage

  • Keeping in touch during sickness absence

  • Occupational health

  • Considering reasonable adjustments

  • Ongoing support and review

Tom May from the Public Health Team in Hertfordshire gave information on a pilot they are running in partnership with BITC which gives workplaces in Hertfordshire potential employee wellbeing solutions, including free mental health First Aid Lite training for their employees.

See presentations given at the event.

For more information on future events contact Debbie Longhurst (