Introduction, Aims and Policy Statement

Introduction 

1. The SPCB is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment in which equality of opportunity is afforded to all staff and all staff are treated fairly and with dignity and respect. We all have a crucial role to play in supporting this achievement.

2. The culture, structures, policies and processes of an organisation, together with personal lifestyle factors, can play an important role in the health and wellbeing of staff. The SPCB aims to support staff as far as reasonably practicable to achieve and maintain a positive state of mental health and wellbeing.

Scope

3. This policy applies to all staff employed directly by the SPCB and managers are responsible for its implementation.

Definition

4. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines ‘mental health’ as:

“A state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Aims

5. This policy relates to all mental health difficulties and the promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. It recognises that work is generally good for our mental health and wellbeing by providing a sense of purpose, participation and independence, but also that it has the potential to cause or contribute to mental health difficulties. The SPCB aims to promote and support positive mental health and wellbeing, therefore, by: 

  • Raising awareness of issues which impact on mental health and wellbeing and promoting greaterunderstanding, for example, through health promotion and assessment initiatives;
  • Identifying and addressing organisational issues which have the potential to impact adversely on the mental health and wellbeing of staff;
  • Eliminating stigma, fear and discrimination relating to mental health difficulties and challenging deep-rooted assumptions and stereotypes;
  • Providing tailored support to staff exhibiting symptoms of or recovering from mental health difficulties; and
  • Fostering a culture where mental health difficulties can be discussed without fear or embarrassment and appropriately managed.

6. Further guidance on mental health and wellbeing, which includes internal and external sources of support and guidance, is available in the Guidance for Managers and Staff.

Policy Statement

7. In accordance with its responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the SPCB will take all reasonable steps to minimise the danger of workplace factors creating or exacerbating mental health difficulties. This will be done through increasing understanding and awareness; assessing work related risks; and addressing promptly any issues which are identified as potential hazards to health and wellbeing. Although clearly not within its control, the SPCB will also deal sensitively with any personal pressures which may impact on your work.

8. The SPCB recognises that some of us may experience or have a history of a longer-term or recurring mental health condition which could be considered a disability in accordance with the Equalities Act 2010. To support staff in this position, the SPCB will provide reasonable and practicable workplace adjustments which help to remove or reduce any substantial disadvantage. Professional advice and guidance may be sought as to how best to accommodate individual circumstances.

9. The SPCB will not tolerate victimisation, harassment or unlawful discrimination against any member of staff or applicant for employment in relation to mental health. A disciplinary sanction, up to and including dismissal, may result.

Work-Related Mental Health Difficulties 

10. The mental health difficulty most commonly regarded as potentially work-related is stress. The Health and Safety Executive defines stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”. There is an important distinction between the beneficial effects of reasonable pressure and challenge which can be motivating and stimulating and stress which can be detrimental to health.

11. Many factors both inside and outside the workplace can lead to stress. Stress can affect people mentally (anxiety and depression) and physically (heart disease, back pain, alcohol and drug dependency). The SPCB will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the health of staff is not placed at risk through the way in which work is organised; the way in which people deal with each other; and the daily demands placed upon staff. It will promote awareness of the symptoms of stress and encourage staff to report concerns promptly and will provide managers and staff with training on how to recognise and manage stress.