Mental health related conditions are the leading cause of sickness in the UK, and according to the Office for National Statistics, 17.5 million days of absence days from work are attributed to stress, anxiety and depression each year.
We take the health and wellbeing of our team-mates very seriously at Copart and understand the importance of being able to identify signs and symptoms of mental health conditions, so that we can offer the appropriate support to those affected and reduce sickness absence across our business.
That’s why we have invested in Mental Health Awareness training courses for managers across our business, in association with the charity Ben, who provide health and wellbeing support to the automotive industry.
In a recent survey conducted by Ben, 91% of the automotive employees questioned said they had suffered health or wellbeing issues in the past 12 months, with anxiety having the most detrimental impact overall. Ben also reported that last year (April 2018-March 2019), mental health issues represented 52% of their helpline enquiries, compared to 29% the year before.
The majority of employees questioned also said that if they had an issue with their mental health, they would prefer to approach a line manager over a colleague or HR. For many managers, dealing with team members who are experiencing mental health issues can be a daunting prospect. Underlying factors such as family, money or workplace worries can be sensitive and complex subjects that must be handled delicately.
Jo Ferguson, Head of UK Human Resources at Copart said: “Mental Health is a key area of focus for us. These survey results really highlight the importance of ensuring that line managers in our business are trained in how to spot the signs of mental health issues in their teams.”
At Copart, which currently employs over 1,000 people, we believe it is important to build and maintain a culture where our team-mates can talk to their manager about their problems and feel that they are fully supported.
In our last Copart Colleague Survey, 84% of our people said they felt supported by their line manager, and we are keen to ensure this continues and improves.
Following discussions with Ben about how our business operates, our culture and what we hoped to achieve, Ben worked alongside Copart’s Human Resources team to develop a Mental Health & Wellbeing training course, which was carried out by a trained mental health therapist and counsellor.
53 managers from across our 18 UK locations have now undertaken the training, which has equipped them with the skills and knowledge to confidently navigate mental health issues in the workplace.
Through a mixture of group work, discussions and scenario planning, delegates were taught how to recognise the signs and symptoms of different types of mental health conditions in their teams and develop strategies to manage and support those individuals effectively.
The training has also proved particularly useful for managing team-mates who work remotely.
“I manage 26 home-based Regional Sales Executives and the training has provided me with the tools to identify warning signs in different ways to just visually.” explains Vivienne Davies, Regional Sales Manager North, who attended the training. “It’s given me the confidence to ask someone if something is wrong and how I can help to support them moving forward, and with this new approach more of my team-mates are now opening up and confiding in me if they are struggling.”
“Spotting and acting on the early warning signs of stress or anxiety is very important.” Jo Ferguson agrees. “Our managers can now potentially identify issues before they escalate further and provide the necessary support to anyone in our business who is struggling with their mental health, helping then to feel there is a positive way forward.”
The training has also enabled us to further support our commitment to the ongoing personal development of our people.
Jo concludes: “Investing in the ongoing personal development of our people means they can reach their full potential and perform to the best of their ability. This training has given our managers the ability to identify different mental health conditions, manage and motivate individuals accordingly and be empathetic towards others, all of which are valuable skills to have both inside and outside of the workplace.”
We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Ben, having adopted them as our company charity in 2015. We hold numerous fundraising activities throughout the year and regularly promote their range of support services to our team-mates via our internal magazines, e-newsletters and intranet.
We have also previously held very successful Awareness Days, where representatives from Ben visited all of our UK locations to speak to our team-mates about the wide range of free support services they offer and provide literature on all aspects of a person’s health and wellbeing.
We believe that by increasing awareness of the support available and how to access it can help to improve overall wellbeing and potentially reduce stress, illness and time off work. Ben’s support services are free, confidential and discreet, with a live chat service available on their website alongside a range of downloadable self-help tools and guides.
But we’re not stopping there when it comes to moving forward with mental health awareness and Copart is currently exploring opportunities to roll out further Mental Health First Aider training.
Find out more about Copart at https://www.copart.co.uk
Find out more about Ben at https://ben.org.uk/
Categories: Industry News