GDS focuses on staff mental health with range of initiatives

Written by Sam Trendall on 12 October 2017 in News
News

Organisation takes various steps to help employees support themselves and each other

This is one of six messages GDS has put on posters and stickers around its office  Credit: GDS

The Government Digital Service has implemented a range of measures to encourage staff to recognise and cope with mental health problems.

Last year the organisation created the GDS Mental Health Network which has since undertaken a number of initiatives related to staff mental health. These include training certain GDS employees as mental health first aiders, giving line managers training on how best to support people, and providing talks various mental-health issues. 

GDS has also taken steps to promote the existing help available to staff, such as the confidential listening service offered by its parent department the Cabinet Office, as well as establishing a Slack channel for employees to discuss mental health-related matters and ask for support from co-workers.  Meanwhile, Nic Harrison, director of service design and assurance at GDS, has become the GDS Mental Health Champion.


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The organisation also recently voted on the creation of six mental health “messages”, designs of which (pictured above) have been put on posters and stickers that now adorn walls and staff laptops. 

The messages are:

  • It’s ok to talk about mental health
  • It’s ok to not be ok
  • It’s ok to ask for help
  • Be excellent to each other
  • Breathe…
  • Done is better than perfect

“Everyone has mental health, just as we all have physical health,” said GDS. “And most of us experience poor mental health sometimes. It might just be a bad day, or feeling stressed, but it can also mean a longer-term mental health problem.”

It added: “We have a responsibility to make sure GDS is a healthy place to work, where everyone feels able to talk about their mental health and ask for support if they need it.”

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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