Advocacy Focus achieves Senior Leader and Workplace Wellbeing Awards from national mental health charity Mind.

Advocacy Focus’ CEO and the organisation’s commitment to wellbeing within the workplace, has been recognised by the national mental health charity Mind.

Advocacy Focus was one of 106 organisations to take part in Mind’s second annual Workplace Wellbeing Index and was recognised with a Gold Award. The award showcases the charity’s commitment to achieving real and sustainable change within their workplace.

Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index is a benchmark of best policy and practice, celebrating the good work employers are doing to promote and support positive mental health, and provides key recommendations on where there is room to improve.

In further celebrations for the charity, Justine Hodgkinson, its Chief Executive Officer, won the Senior Leader Award, for her commitment and contribution to fostering an equitable and supportive workplace. Other members of the team were also shortlisted for their efforts in this area; Becci Jackson-Maher in the Line Manager category for her work as the Time to Change lead and Jasmine Bell in the Wellbeing Champion category, for her work as Suicide Champion and helping to drive forward the Time to Change programme.

Every employer depends on having healthy and productive employees – valued and supported staff are far more likely to perform better and achieve peak performance. Mental health problems are common among employees. Mind surveyed more than 44,000 employees across the 106 employers participating in the Awards and found that 7 in 10 had experienced a mental health problem in their lives, with over one in two (53 per cent) affected by poor mental health in their current workplace.

Advocacy Focus has developed a collaborative and supportive environment for its team, through initiatives such as an “All Fine Hotline” for staff to speak and offload to

a manager out of hours if they are feeling stressed or upset, private healthcare and counselling for all staff. The team also have access to Suicide and Cancer champions, a mental health plan which raises awareness of female health issues and a Time to Change team which reduces the stigma of mental ill health. Many of the team are also qualified mental health first aiders, which is delivered by their in-house training team. In Mind’s independent and anonymous survey, which formed part of the process, staff reported how they are empowered to take control of their own wellbeing and that of their peers, colleagues, family and friends.

Justine said: “Our cultural approach to mental health, alongside our policies and training programmes, demonstrates how we place our team’s physical and mental health and wellbeing at the heart of our organisation. How we look after our team has a ripple effect across the whole of the North West and the people we serve.”

“As a registered charity, we have been supporting people with mental ill health for over 20 years. These awards are a significant achievement, which recognise how we live and uphold the values of advocacy within our workplace and are proud to do so. Winning Gold shows that we provide a trusted and safe place to work from, which enables our team to focus on our communities and help them live the lives they want to live.”

“Treat every member of your team with kindness and respect”
After receiving the Senior Leader Award, Justine said: “I have learnt over the years that the only way to bring about positive cultural change, is to treat every member of your team with kindness and respect. You never know what challenges a person may have faced to even make it into work that day, life can be so pressurised. Particularly now with the current situation and many people’s lives being turned upside down. If we can provide a friendly and supportive, values based workplace, that normalises the conversation around mental health and tackles any form of discrimination, then our team will show up as the very best version of themselves. That is a workplace I am proud to be the leader of.”

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said:

“Every employer depends on having a healthy and productive workforce – valued and supported employees are far more likely to deliver the best outcomes for your organisation.

That’s why we’re delighted to recognise and celebrate employers making mental health a priority for their organisation through our Workplace Wellbeing Awards.

“This year, we’ve been overwhelmed to see so much good practice right across the board, from each and every one of the 106 diverse employers to take part. The Awards event provided an opportunity to recognise those forward-thinking employers who are at the cutting edge when it comes to investing in their staff wellbeing, and in turn getting the best outcomes for their business.”