Dr Laura David
Founder, Smart About Health
General Practitioner, NHS England Clinical Entrepreneur
Dr Romayne Gadelrab
Chief Mental Health Officer, Smart About Health
Consultant Psychiatrist, King’s College Hospital London
Workplace health and wellbeing programmes — delivered by experts — are vital for organisations and businesses to protect their employees, themselves and health services.
There are 1.4 million people in the UK on waiting lists for mental health service support, notes Dr Laura David.
This means workplaces need to do more by implementing proactive and preventive mental health interventions and strategies. “Companies with effective health and wellbeing programmes have happier and healthier employees who are able to detect signs of illness earlier,” says Dr David. “Obviously, that’s good for the employees ; and, ultimately, it saves money for employers and health services.” Dr David is a General Practitioner and an NHS England Clinical Entrepreneur. She is also the Founder of Smart About Health, which delivers doctor-led health and wellbeing programmes in the workplace.
Knowing when to help
“Workplaces are ideally suited to identifying when someone needs help,” explains Dr Romayne Gadelrab, Consultant Psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital London and Chief Mental Health Officer at Smart About Health.
“Companies that have wellbeing programmes in place empower their staff to recognise when they or their colleagues are struggling. While it’s encouraging that people are now more open about mental health, there’s also a lot of misinformation about it.”
While it’s encouraging that people are now more open about mental health, there’s also a lot of misinformation about it.
Clinician-led wellbeing programmes
Dr David believes that the best wellbeing programmes offer a holistic and comprehensive approach. In other words, they look beyond just mental health to address the wider, overall challenges people face.
Currently, the provision for employee wellbeing is unregulated, so employers should engage with credible suppliers, such as clinicians, to constructively engage staff at all levels of the organisation. Those delivering the programmes have to be respected and trusted experts in their field,” she says.
Improving the environment
Creating safe spaces for employees to talk about any aspect of health and wellbeing — be it dealing with pain, anxiety, menopause or bereavement — is a way for companies to change their culture for the better.
To this end, Smart About Health has created a programme called Wellbeing Champions. It equips employees with the skills to handle these conversations safely and effectively. “As doctors, we believe everyone should be able to have mental health conversations at work for improved quality of life,” says Dr Rasha Gadelrab, General Practitioner and Chief Culture and Engagement Officer at Smart About Health. “This will directly improve their productivity and purpose and create a mentally healthy workplace where they can thrive.”
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