Better Workplace Better Mental Health

A DONCASTER-WIDE HEALTH INITIATIVE has the chance to achieve national recognition for its work after reaching the final of the National Lottery Awards.

Better Workplace, Better Mental Health is an NHS-run scheme which is part of a wider Lottery-funded programme called Altogether Better, which runs throughout the region to raise awareness of health and lifestyle issues.

The project aims to tackle the problems caused by stress, anxiety and depression within the workplace through a range of innovative solutions. The emphasis is on raising awareness of the issues surrounding mental health through fun team-building activities, and so far over 300 businesses in the Doncaster area have benefitted from the programme over 3 years.

The scheme has encouraged workplaces to assign their own ‘Health Champions’ who will co-ordinate well-being among colleagues, and aims to reduce the strain caused by staff absences related to mental health conditions.

‘The best thing about BWBMH has been its ability to reach a lot of people; it has raised a lot of awareness about issues which often have a stigma attached to them. Mental health problems are very common, with an estimated 1 in 4 people suffering from them. We have been working with health-care professionals such as GPs to encourage people who have been diagnosed with stress and depression to return to work with the knowledge that support is available for them if they need it’, explained project manager Jane Jefferson, 35.

Despite reaching the final two of the Lottery Awards’ Health category as part of Altogether Better, the programme’s funding ends in December, yet they hope to continue their good work by becoming a social enterprise known as Big Ambitions.

Jane is hopeful that success in the competition will ensure that support for and awareness of the initiative’s work will carry on and that other sources of funding may be found