It’s really important that people can be themselves at work, knowing that they will not be judged but respected. Our commitment to mental health is demonstrated by our pledge to the Time to Change programme which calls for an end to discrimination about mental health.
As Glynn Phillips, our Executive Committee sponsor for safeguarding mental health says: “Mental health problems affect one in four people in any given year. Any one of us, or those we live and work with, may have experienced the impact, which can be devastating, but often also hidden. Our mental wellbeing is dynamic. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year. So we should all try and be mindful of our own mental wellbeing. And we should be more mindful of those around us.”
Supporting employees during the pandemic
At BAE Systems we have a number of programmes developed by experts to support employees in managing their mental health. These include access to a 24-hour Employee Assistance Programme run by professional councillors that offers on-the-spot support as well as longer term counselling. Throughout the Covoid-19 pandemic we have widened the scope of these programmes to include online mental resilience webinars and virtual one-one-coaching to support both employees who have returned to work at our sites and those who continue to work from home. During this time, many of our employees have felt they wanted help others by sharing their personal stories of mental health and we are helping them do so through our employee communications channels.
Mental Health Awareness and our First Aiders programmeRecently we were awarded both a Bronze in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index and a Princess Royal Training Award for our approach to mental health awareness in the UK. Our Mental Health Awareness programme lies at the centre of these acknowledgements and to date more than 4,300 UK employees have taken part. We also have more than 300 mental health first aiders across our UK business. The first aiders act as an initial point of contact for anyone experiencing mental health challenges and can point people towards the help and support they need.
World Mental Health Day
SandraMental Health First Aider
BAE Systems Maritime ServicesSandra has worked at BAE Systems since 2009 in a variety of roles at Portsmouth Naval Base in the UK. She has been a Mental Health First Aider since October 2019 and is currently on her business Mental Health Steering Group as a Volunteer Co-Ordinator.
Sandra says “I am passionate about raising awareness and helping to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues. I think it’s essential that especially in a male- dominated environment like the Naval Base, we dispel the myth that experiencing mental health issues is a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of. I believe we should treat our mental health with the same importance as we would our physical health. We wouldn’t hesitate to go see a Doctor about a constant ache or pain so we really shouldn’t hesitate to seek help with our mental wellbeing - it’s no different.”
BAE Systems also supports armed forces charities for whom the mental health of veterans is a priority. This includes Combat Stress, and our current donation goes toward supporting specialist programmes for veterans as prior preparation for attending the six-week PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme.