Feeling Good in the WET Service Group

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2019 Water, Environment & Transport Conference
26 February 2019
Carried as Amended

Conference welcomes the fact that more conversations are being held around the issues of mental health, however, for many it is still a taboo subject and for others a painful subject. This however does not stop the effect it has on people, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, beliefs. Mental health does not discriminate and can affect anyone of us.

Conference also notes that employers are failing in their duty of care towards all staff with mental health issues, particularly when these issues are caused by the unrealistic demands placed on staff by employers. Call centres are a classic example, where employers not only expect members to deal with customer queries within specific timescales but also place restrictions on the number of comfort breaks allowed and the length of time they are allowed for said comfort breaks.

It is important to note however, that mental health issues can be caused by a range of factors both inside and outside of the workplace and can often be a combination of both, which means this issue is not exclusive to call centre workers and can affect other members within our Service Group, both those working in offices and out in the field.

There is a worrying increase in the number of members affected by mental health within the WET sector and to try and help deal with this, Our Occupational Health team within Yorkshire Water have been delivering Mental Health First Aid courses to help recognise the signs of mental health issues and to start conversations around mental health

These courses while primarily aimed at managers (and offered to the whole workforce) are followed up with refresher courses every two years. This is to ensure people are still aware of what signs to look for and to update them on any changes in the law which may impact / affect people suffering with mental health issues and managers who work with them.

Our Occupational Health team also offer other services to help deal with (life or day to day) issues which may affect our members such as counselling, CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), physio sessions and stress management plans for members who are returning to work after time off with stress / anxiety. Also available are – Slimming world/Smoking cessation/Menopause group/New and Expectant Parent group/ Fertility Group/ Sleep/eating disorders/ and alcohol and substance abuse and dependence/ men’s cancer / women’s cancer, and they test new courses out on TU reps first for constructive feedback.

Yorkshire Water would welcome the opportunity to work with others in the WET sector to explore different training methods to see which work most effectively in helping to deal with mental health issues faced by our members.

To this end, we ask that the Executive organise a seminar for all WET branches around the subject of mental health, facilitated by those who deal with these issues on a regular basis to discuss best practices for dealing with these issues.