For us, marking World Mental Health Day helps to create an inclusive work culture where people can be themselves at work, knowing that they will not be judged but respected.
As Glynn Phillips, our Executive Committee sponsor for World Mental Health Day this year 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.”
At BAE Systems we have a number of programmes in place to support employees in managing their mental health. In Australia we run ‘Are you OK?’ days to encourage people to open up and share their stories. And in the UK, our 24-hour Employee Assistance Programme can provide on-the-spot support as well as longer term counselling with therapists. In addition, to date, 4,000 UK employees have attended the one-day Mental Health Awareness programme which was instigated by Steve Fogg, Managing Director of Shared Services who says: “Having had personal experience of friends and colleagues who have suffered with poor mental health over the years, I recognised the importance of removing any stigma associated with this topic and also the benefits to both the organisation and employees of creating a supportive and caring environment where we can all perform at our best.”
Mental Health First Aiders
Recently we were awarded a Princess Royal Training Award for our approach to mental health awareness – our Mental Health Awareness programme lies at the centre of this award but the introduction of mental health first aiders across a number of our UK businesses was also a contributory factor. We now have more than 250 employees in these roles and that number will exceed 300 by the end of the year. 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.
BAE Systems also supports armed forces charities for whom the mental health of veterans is a priority. These include Combat Stress; our current donation goes towards the cost of an Anger Management Programme which has proved helpful for veterans as prior preparation for attending the six-week PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme or to manage residual difficulties with anger.
And for the next two years, we are proud to be partnering with Invictus UK whom support the recovery journey of wounded, injured and sick veterans and service personnel in the UK via a range of Invictus activities from training camps, and the Invictus UK Trials, through to the 2020 Invictus Games in The Hague.