1. What is mental health?
The World Health Organisation define mental health as
"Mental Health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is defined as a state of well being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life
, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community"
We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health; sometimes we feel well and sometimes we feel unwell.
Mental health is just as important as physical health and can have a huge impact on our ability to participate in education, work and society.
2. What is stress?
Health & Safety Executive definition of work related stress
"The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work"
Stress is not an illness - it is a state. However; if stress becomes too excessive and prolonged, mental & physical illness may develop.
2.1 Signs of stress in individuals
If you are suffering from some of the following symptoms it may indicate that you are feeling the effects of stress.
- Disappointment with yourself
- Negative or depressive feelings
- Increased emotional reactions - more tearful or sensitive or aggressive
- Loneliness, withdrawn
- Loss of motivation commitment and confidence
- Mood swings (not behavioural)
- Confusion, indecision
- Can't concentrate
- Poor memory
Changes from your normal behaviour
- Changes in eating habits
- Increased smoking, drinking or drug taking 'to cope'
- Mood swings effecting your behaviour
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Twitchy, nervous behaviour
- Changes in attendance such as arriving later or taking more time off.
Please note these are indicators of behaviour of those experiencing stress. They may also be indicative of other conditions. If you are concerned about yourself please seek advice from your GP. If you are concerned about a colleague try to convince them
to see their GP.
2.2 Signs of stress in a group
- Disputes and disaffection within the group
- Increase in staff turnover
- Increase in complaints and grievances
- Increased sickness absence
- Increased reports of stress
- Difficulty in attracting new staff
- Poor performance
- Customer dissatisfaction or complaints
It is not up to you or your managers to diagnose stress. If you or they are very worried about a person, recommend they see their GP. It is up to you and your managers to recognise that behaviours have changed be aware that something is wrong and take prompt
action. Take care not to over react to small changes in behaviour. You and your managers need to act when these behavioural changes continue. Use these symptoms (both individual and group) as clues.
2.3 Stress Policy
Bradford Council has set out the responsibilities of both managers and employees in relation to stress in its Stress Policy - link to Stress Policy
There are two main actions that need to be taken, stress risk assessments and stress management action plans.
2.4 Stress Risk Assessments
It is a manager's responsibility to ensure that effective risk assessments are carried out and are monitored regularly. The purpose of a risk assessment is to identify hazards in the workplace that could lead to stress and identify/review controls in place
to manage those risks.
Link further support contact
Occupational Safety team
2.5 Stress Management Action Plans
It is a manger's responsibility to develop a stress management action plan with individual employees. This will either be when
- The employee feels that stress is impacting on their well being and causing difficulties for the employee to remain in work
- The employee is off work citing work related stress as the reason for absence
The aim of completing a stress management action plan is to understand, what the employee perceives as stressors and to consider actions to support the employee's well being. Completing the stress management action plan will ensure that you as the manager
have proactively addressed work related stress.
Link for further support contact Resolution Coordinator on 431141
3. Support for employees
If you are concerned about your mental health, you should make an appointment to see your GP.
3.2 Talking therapies
Talking therapy is for anyone who's going through a bad time or has emotional problems they can't sort out on their own. .Bradford District Care Trust offers a free talking therapies service known as IAPT, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. This
free service is open to any employee whose GP practice is located in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale or Craven. They offer a wide range of treatment including; stress management evening class, counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, self help guidance and
relaxation techniques. You can self refer to the Service; they will assess your needs and offer treatment where necessary. It is important that when you self refer you give the code LA1; this will ensure that if you need any treatment you will be prioritised.
For employees living outside the district, your GP will be able to refer you to your local IAPT service.
Employees can self refer
3.3 Mental Health Support Service
The Mental Health Support Service is for anyone in employment who has a mental health condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed) that has resulted in workplace absence or is causing difficulties for the employee to remain in work. This includes employees experiencing
stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. It is a free, confidential service which provides employees with workplace mental wellbeing support and advice for six months. This Service is funded by Government's Department for Work & Pensions
and delivered by Remploy in partnership with Access to Work.
3.4 Health Trainers
Bradford District Care Trust offers Health Trainers to anyone over 16yrs living in Bradford and Airedale. Health Trainers support and coach people to set and achieve SMART goals that can help improve physical, mental and social health and well being.
This is a free service offered to those who are ready to make a positive lifestyle or behaviour change.
Employees who live outside of the district will be able to source local health trainers via their GP practice.
3.5 Training opportunities
Workforce Development offers a variety of training opportunities focussing on health and well being. They have delivered sessions on stress awareness, mental health first aid, and psychological well being. There are also e learning courses on health and
3.6 Self Help Leaflet
For up to date information on well being training opportunities please look at
If you have any questions please contact Occupational Health on 01274 434246 or Occupational Safety on 01274 431007.
Time to Change
Time to Change Pledge
Mental health problems are common
- but nearly nine out of ten people who experience them say they face
stigma and discrimination as a result. This can be even worse than the symptoms themselves.
Time to Change is run by the charities MIND
and Rethink Mental Illness , with funding from the
Department of Health
, Comic Relief and the
Big Lottery Fund . At heart, Time to Change is a social movement made up of hundreds of thousands of individuals and organisations across England, who are all working to change the way the nation thinks and acts when it comes to mental health.
They aim to empower people to challenge stigma and speak openly about their own mental health experiences, as well as
changing the attitudes and behaviour of the public
towards those of us with mental health problems
Hundreds of organisations are already involved and Bradford Council has now chosen to join them and made a commitment to Time to Change to tackle mental health stigma and keep our staff well for work
The Pledge is part of the MIND mental health challenge for Local Government that the Council has agreed to sign up to. Cllr Berry is the Lead Elected Member and Mark Trewin the Lead Officer for the project. Sue Dunkley, Human Resources Director is the
Corporate Management Champion for Time to Change.
There are 10 points that the Council is working on to meet the MIND challenge. Point 10 is to sign up to the Time To Change pledge on mental health stigma.
Key aspects of the pledge include:
Peer Support Volunteers - We will have a number of employees who will champion time to change. Their role will include inputting their ideas towards implementation of the pledge and where they have lived experience providing support to colleagues who may
be experiencing mental health issues. If you are interested in being a Peer Support Volunteer please contact Jenny St Romaine in Employee Health (ext 1141)
Mental Health Policy - a policy detailing the Council's approach to staff Mental Health Issues is currently being drafted by Employee Health & Wellbeing.
Mental Health Training
Employee Health & Wellbeing is developing a short e-learning course which will be available to all managers.
The Mental Health First Aid 2-day training course is open to all employees.
For up to date information on well being training opportunities please look at
Bradford Council is proud to have signed the pledge and to be focusing on combating the very real issue of the stigma concerning mental health.
More information about Time to Change can be found on their
People can also make an individual pledge, if you would like to do this please click on this
For further information on making reasonable adjustments please see this
document. This advice aims to help managers to keep a member of staff whom is suffering from mental ill health in work (or in some cases back to work following a period of ill health).