Aegon UK rolls out mental health awareness training sessions for managers

As part of its wellbeing in the workplace programme, pensions and investment provider, Aegon UK has rolled out a series of mental health awareness training workshops to support managers.

The instructor-led, four-hour interactive workshops are to help managers gain a greater awareness of mental health in the workplace and learn how to recognise and provide support to colleagues who are experiencing mental health problems or who are showing signs of mental distress. Managers will gain confidence in starting conversation about mental health, learn how to further assist to break the stigma around this topic and embed an inclusive culture in the workplace where everyone can be their true selves.

The sessions will be delivered by Aegon workplace health partners, AXA Healthcare in Edinburgh, Witham and Peterborough at the end of February and will also cover practical ways to build confidence in supporting someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue as well as different ways of promoting positive mental health generally.

The majority of the seats at each site were filled within 48hours of the invites going out to people managers. Additional awareness sessions are already being planned throughout the year so the remaining managers all get the opportunity to attend.

Dougy Grant, a Managing Director and Executive Advocate of Aegon UK’s Wellbeing Workstream comments:

“Poor employee mental health can have a damaging impact on a business. As an employer we have a responsibility to not only protect the business commercially but to protect and support the wellbeing of the people who are core to our business.

“We have taken great steps in the last year to promote a positive working environment and will continue to do so. Having trained a team of Mental Health First Aiders, we are now rolling out awareness workshops to people managers across the sites.

“We don’t expect anyone to become an expert in mental health, but having more managers trained to recognise the signs of mental health problems will help to put safeguards in place for staff should they need support.”

These sessions form part of a wider programme of wellbeing approaches and initiatives from Aegon to support employees.

As part of this programme in 2019, Aegon trained Mental Health First Aiders, ran expert education programmes with external suppliers, provided on site pet therapy and provided online resources to encourage employees to adopt self-care strategies for their mind and body, and not be afraid to seek support and advice in the workplace when they need it.

Grant comments:

“Supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of all our employees – and ensuring that they have access to appropriate support in the workplace – is unquestionably a priority for us.

“By providing a range of proactive, preventative and reactive support, the company has made great strides in breaking down the stigma of mental illness in the workplace.

“Our aim is to offer employees a range of services that will help them feel more valued, supported, motivated, and empowered to take control of their own wellbeing. We believe that this will contribute to a more engaged, productive, and sustainable organisation but more importantly, an open, supportive work environment.

“Ultimately by helping people be at their best, we are more likely to be successful as a company.”