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Free training hub to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace

A free training hub is raising the standard of mental health support for employees across County Durham.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations with fewer than 250 employees based in County Durham, are being offered free training and support to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health, reduce stigma and foster a supportive environment for employees.

Commissioned by Durham County Council and delivered by Hartlepool and East Durham MIND (HEDM), the hub can be accessed free of charge by SME and VCS organisations. This programme is funded for two years.

The programmes will comprise of eLearning and traditional delivery formats, although face to face training is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Methods of delivery will however be reviewed regularly in line with local and national guidance on this matter.

Business owners, managers and employees are all welcome to join the hub. All organisations, irrespective of sector, will benefit from the training provided.

Cllr Lucy Hovvels, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for adult and health services said: “We know that good mental health is important in every aspect of our lives. This hub is designed to make good quality mental health support available to as many individuals as possible. We spend a lot of time in our workplace, so making sure the environment in which we work, and the people we work with, are all educated on mental health is a major positive for businesses and for the people who work there.

“As a result of their size, SME and VCS organisations may well have fewer resources to commit to this type of training, but size doesn’t make these issues any less important. Indeed, the impact of mental health and wellbeing issues, for example from staff absence due to ill-health, is likely to be bigger and more strongly felt in smaller workplaces.”

Sarah Slaven, interim managing director Business Durham, said: “Business Durham recognises the importance of good workforce health and wellbeing, and this has been particularly important  recently where we have seen first-hand the pressures faced by people working in businesses across the county.

“Small and medium sized businesses make up the majority of our businesses, and this resource will support them to develop the skills required to build resilience to meet the challenges of the coming months.”

Subjects included in the hub training include mental health awareness, managing stress and improving personal resilience, certificated Mental Health First Aid and recognising and combating mental health stigma and discrimination.


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