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World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day

On World Mental Health Day, Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme praised for commitment to mental health

The Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme, the UK’s leading heritage renovation project, has pledged to support positive mental health for the people working on the vital restoration of the Palace of Westminster by adopting Mind’s Mental Health at Work Commitment.

The organisations overseeing and delivering the plan to save our nation’s iconic Houses of Parliament were established six months ago. Since then, mental health and well-being have been put at the heart of the programme, with Positive Mental Health Ambassadors trained and appointed across the business.

In the lead up to World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10 October), the restoration programme is this week bringing colleagues together for an event to reinforce its commitment to positive mental health. The event will feature key speakers including people working on the programme, a mental health expert from Mind, and former Rugby League International player, Danny Sculthorpe, who now works with the State of Mind charity and will discuss his own mental health experiences.

Faye McGuinness, Head of Workplace Wellbeing Programmes at Mind, said:

“It’s good to see the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme adopt the Mental Health at Work Commitment – something every employer should take up. Data from staff taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index shows over half (53 per cent) of employees have experienced poor mental health in their current workplace. We know that within certain sectors like construction, this could be even higher. This year has been a difficult one for us all, which is why it’s never been more important to promote and prioritise employee wellbeing. There are so many factors affecting staff mental health right now – whether that’s concerns about health and safety, job security, struggling with isolation or bereavement – so it’s really important employers go above and beyond to create environments where staff can talk openly about their mental health and easily access any additional support they might need.”

Sarah Johnson, CEO of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body said:

“Our mission is to save and restore our nation’s iconic Houses of Parliament for future generations - it's a challenging task, and the well-being of our teams is at the heart of our plans. I have recently joined our Positive Mental Health Ambassador network, as have many other colleagues across our two organisations. We are committed to open and supportive conversations around mental health, and to making sure these continue as we work together, but apart. I’m delighted Mind has recognised the positive steps we are taking to support our teams.”

David Goldstone, CEO of the House of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority said:

“We know that maintaining good mental health and finding sources of support when needed can be a challenge within many industries and work environments, not least the construction and engineering industry . That's why it's essential we have a robust mental health action plan in place right from the start of this historic project to restore the Palace of Westminster, home of Parliament. We’ve already put in place measures to support colleagues’ mental health, and I am determined we will remain a leader in promoting positive well-being in the workplace.”

The standards were developed as part of the Thriving at Work review of mental health and employment, which showed that poor mental health costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion a year, and the wider economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year.

The six standards, which the restoration and renewal programme has committed to, are:

  • Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan;
  • Develop mental health awareness among employees;
  • Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling;
  • Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development;
  • Promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors;
  • Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing
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