Nice Network urges firms to ‘do more’ to protect workers’ mental health

October 10, 2019 @ 10:30 by Steven Hugill

Sunderland-based Nice Network is putting its mind to tackling mental health after participating in training to support staff dealing with personal issues.

Workers from the telecoms specialist took part in Mental Health First Aid and suicide prevention training, delivered by Washington Mind, to reach out and support the community who are experiencing mental health problems and to support those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Nice Network attended the two-day Mental Health First Aid training, whereby attendees become registered Mental Health First Aiders and gain an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing.

They also undertook A LIFE Worth Living training, which aims to tackle the stigma associated with suicide and encourages people to talk openly about suicide.

As a company with a predominantly male workforce, Nice identified staff wellbeing as an area it wanted to explore further and ensure the leadership team was fully equipped to support the team should such issues arise.

Nikki Lee, head of marketing, took part in the training and is encouraging other businesses to follow suit.

She said: “One of the hardest hitting facts highlighted within A LIFE Worth Living was that the majority of people who take their own life every year are men.

“In fact, research and evidence tells us that 84 men a week end their lives by suicide. These are fathers, brothers, friends, employees, colleagues.

“I’d encourage any business, no matter how big or small, to invest the time and training to their staff.”

Nikki’s participation in A LIFE Worth Living, alongside managing director Chris Lee, was part of Nice Network’s commitment to putting people before profit.

She added: “Everyone at Nice Network is given the opportunity to take a day out of the office every month to volunteer with local community groups and charities or to take part in training of their choice.

“Over the past few months, our staff have helped out at foodbanks, delivered coats and jackets to the city’s homeless, as well as working with charities such as Life Kitchen, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Comic Relief and St Benedicts Hospice, to name just a few.”

A LIFE Worth Living training was developed in 2011 in partnership with those who have experience of suicidal thinking and some who have attempted to end their lives.

Kathy McKenna, training manager at Washington Mind, added: “A LIFE Worth Living is a community approach to suicide prevention and intervention.

“If we can tackle the stigma associated with suicide, still a very taboo subject, and change people’s attitudes and understanding of suicide, then by coming together we can save lives.”

To date, more than 30,500 people have been trained in A LIFE Worth Living. A recent evaluation by Newcastle University has identified that from 2015-2017 those that responded to the questionnaire had used the training 333 times.

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