Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

Thales Group - Time to Talk Badge 1
Work-related stress, depression or anxiety is defined, according to the Health and Safety Executive, as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. The Labour Force Survey estimates to every 100,000 workers in Great Britain, 1,510 are affected in this way. Recognising poor mental health in the workplace is far too prevalent, Thales in the UK has several measures in place to ensure this statistic isn’t echoed among its own people.

One such measure is the Mental Health First Aid programme. Those who partake and successfully complete the course, ‘Mental Health First Aiders’, are trained to spot the early warning signs of common mental health conditions, provide immediate support and signpost appropriate longer term help for the individual affected. A successful Mental Health First Aid pilot scheme was organised at the beginning of 2017 and plans to roll this out across other UK Thales sites are now in motion. The Mental Health First Aiders within the company will be able to promote appropriate processes in all areas of the business where they see issues.

Further to this, digital ‘Tool Kits’ will be soon be made available to people managers, which will be centred on how people managers themselves can support health – both physical and mental – in the workplace. The Tool Kits will cover what support is available within Thales and how it can be accessed, making it easier for managers to ensure their teams have the correct assistance in place for any health issues that may be affecting them.

Thales Group - Time to Talk Badge 2
These new initiatives come on top of the support already available for anybody experiencing mental health issues at Thales. This includes the Employee Assistance Programme available for Thales people and their families, giving them access to support through counselling, and a stress risk assessment process enabling Human Resources to work with managers who may be concerned about somebody. The intention is to be able to sit down and have a conversation with the person under assessment about the stresses they are dealing with and what can be done to help or support them.

Having a large demographic of ex-forces personnel and reservists, Thales in the UK recently sponsored the Military Minds Symposium, for the third year running. Each year the Symposium is an opportunity for organisations to understand the benefits of working with individuals with a military background and, conversely, to understand what they can do to assist those individuals who may be going through mental health issues brought on by experiences from their time in service.

Thales Group - Time to Talk Pledge
To affirm its commitment to ending mental health stigma, Thales in the UK has recently signed the Time to Change pledge. Samantha Madeiros, HR Advisory Manager, says, “I am really pleased that we are signing the Time to Change pledge as it demonstrates Thales UK’s commitment to changing how we think and treat mental health in the workplace. The wording of our pledge will be: ‘The wellbeing of our employees is fundamental to our success as a business. Signing the Time to Change pledge is one way in which we can demonstrate our commitment to promoting a culture of openness, in which support is offered and diversity is celebrated.’”

Thales in the UK’s Chief Executive Victor Chavez, who signed the pledge personally, adds, “Being able to engage with people to talk about problems is really key, and we don’t we have space for people who take a hard line management perspective on this.”