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Getting psyched for wellbeing friendly workplaces

A workplace wellbeing awards scheme, aimed at celebrating workplaces which support staff  mental health,  was announced  by Lord Mayor, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald. The scheme,  the first of its kind in the country, will celebrate efforts made in workplaces across Cork to support staff. 

PSYCHED stands for ‘Positive Support You Can Have Every Day’ and its announcement is timed to coincide with the World Health Organisation’s World Mental Health Day.

The Lord Mayor said: “As a WHO Healthy City we pride ourselves in Cork in supporting and promoting health where we can.  I’m delighted that workplaces are joining us in strengthening our communities through this PSYCHED scheme. “

HSE Principal Psychologist HSE in Cork, Daniel Flynn said: “We spend one third of our day at work. It makes sense that we should encourage and reward workplaces that support the positive wellbeing of their staff. We really want to stimulate conversations leading to a better understanding of mental health while celebrating the commitment, good practice and innovation in mental health promotion in the workplace through participation in the 2018 PSYCHED Awards”.   

Workplaces have the capacity to improve or impede mental health. A 2015 survey by consulting firm Mercer found that Irish workers were more stressed than their UK counterparts (82% v 74%); while the Small Firms Association - Absenteeism Report 2014 found that absence costs small business over €490 million per annum with 4,052,222 days lost in 2014. The report found that the main mental health issues that impact on workers in terms of absenteeism are anxiety and depression (13%), stress (7%), nervous debility/bereavement (4%) and post-natal depression (2%). 

The PSYCHED awards scheme has three aims:

1.      To generate conversations in the workplace leading to a better understanding of mental health

2.      To encourage employers to engage with staff to promote and foster mental health in the workplace by setting goals for positive improvement

3.      To celebrate commitment, good practice and innovation in mental health promotion in the workplace through participation in the 2018 PSYCHED awards.

Examples of employee support initiatives that can be set up by employers include random acts of kindness days; organised group tea/coffee breaks to promote social interaction; the promotion of lunch time walks for physical and mental health and large-scale employee engagement and support programmes. 

Application to the scheme is easy and open to every type of workplace categorised as sole trader, emerging business, small-medium enterprise, multinational, not for profit and public service.  Successful applicants will be awarded the 2018 PSYCHED Certificate of Recognition. 

PSYCHED is an initiative of Cork Healthy Cities, supported by the Health Service Executive, University College Cork and Cork City Council.  All participating workplaces will be hosted in Cork City Hall in a celebration and showcase by Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald in March 2018.  

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