Ann Marie Symes
The main aim of the project was to demonstrate to all staff that the workplace was a community and that we would all support colleagues who needed assistance.
Sickness absence in the business area has been reduced from 11 days per member of staff per year to less than 4. The team has not experienced a single work related stress sickness absence for more than 18 months. In financial terms that has saved £110,000 in staff costs in the last year.
Individually of the original group affected 1 has been promoted; 1 has completely revived his career which culminated in him being recognised for saving the life of a colleague; the other is now a lead trainer.
The programme to ensure and improve the mental health of this small group of officers has driven an overall improvement in morale and effectiveness: it has demonstrated to the rest of the team through deeds and not just words that managers and colleagues will work hard to help those who need it and that is fundamental to establishing camaraderie and a positive ethos.
Mrs Symes led a systematic environmental improvement programme to ensure that the working environment was clean, modern and well kept; that all equipment and furniture was in good condition; and that staff had everything that they needed to do their job.
Mrs Symes drove a programme to place officers in appropriate job roles so that the officers affected could spend as much time as possible in roles that they enjoyed and had confidence doing.
Mental Health and Wellbeing are now at the centre of all of our medium and long term planning: the effect of shift working, working anti-social hours and separation from family are factored in to the way that we make deployments and structure support for staff.