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Nursing agency launches ‘buddy’ system to boost mental wellbeing

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A nursing agency has launched new training and a “buddy” system for staff, as part of wider efforts to ensure employees look after their own mental wellbeing.

Local Care Force, which has offices in Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester and employs more than 50 permanent staff, is introducing mental first aid training as part of its “Address Your Stress” initiative.

“It’s vital that employers take responsibility for their staff and start creating more mentally healthy workplaces”

Amelia Greenwood-Blott

The training, designed to help staff spot signs of stress in themselves and others and manage and reduce stress, is one of range of measures inspired by this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

The company has also created the role of designated mental health nurse lead to provide support for all staff.

In addition, it is introducing a “buddy” and mentoring system to ensure that there is always someone for workers to talk to.

Meanwhile, new “wellness action plans” designed to support the mental health of team members will promote exercise and healthy eating – and include free fruit and free personal training sessions.

Adam Silverwood, Local Care Force’s head of nursing care, said understanding what causes stress and taking action to manage stress was an important part of looking after staff wellbeing.

“This initiative is designed to ensure that as a business we are able to recognise and tackle signs of stress in order to help ensure and improve the mental health of the team,” he said.

“This initiative is designed to ensure that as a business we are able to recognise and tackle signs of stress”

Adam Silverwood

The business has also produced a new mental health company policy and is submitting an action plan and employee pledge to the “Time to Change” campaign run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, which supports people to open up about mental health problems.

“Making it okay to talk about mental health and knowing how to open up about it is really important,” said the firm’s clinical lead nurse Amelia Greenwood-Blott.

“It is staggering to know that one in six adults in Britain will experience depression, anxiety or problems relating to stress at any one time and many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless,” she said.

She added: “This is why it’s vital that employers take responsibility for their staff and start creating more mentally healthy workplaces.”

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