Mental Health in the Workplace

Samantha Madeiros

Every year, 1 in 4 of us will experience an issue related to mental health. Added to this, around 70 million working days are lost every year in the UK due to mental health reasons. Victor Chavez, CEO at Thales UK, comments that “the wellbeing of our employees is fundamental to the success of our business”. We spoke to Samantha Madeiros to better understand the importance of mental health in the workplace.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Samantha Madeiros, I’m Head of Employee Relations at Thales UK and I lead on our UK mental health strategy.

Why do you feel it is important to recognise mental health in the workplace?

We all have mental health and, similarly to our physical health, it is not static and can change regularly throughout our lives. Sometimes we may feel mentally healthy and thrive in our day to day activities, but at other times we may feel that life is more of a struggle. By placing a focus on mental health and making it a part of our everyday conversations, we can remove the stigma often associated with the subject matter and feel happier in our work. This is beneficial to both people and businesses.

What does Thales UK do to support people’s mental health?

Last year we signed the Time to Change pledge to publically state our commitment to changing the way we think and talk about mental health in the workplace. We feel that it is really important to enable people to talk about their problems.

We have trained more than 200 of our people in Mental Health First Aid. Mental Health First Aiders receive training to help them spot the early signs of mental ill health, listen non-judgementally whilst assessing for crisis, provide information and sign post to support.

All Thales employees also have access to a free, confidential and impartial Employee Assistance Programme, which is a 24/7 service that provides advice, support and access to counselling.

Anything you would like to add? 

It’s important for companies to celebrate diversity and to show that they care about the people working within their organisation. Continuing the mental health conversation is just one part of this and I’m proud to work for an organisation that recognises the value of difference.