ITN has appointed newsreader Sian Williams its first mental health champion.
The news and content provider’s mental health champions initiative is the first scheme to launch following its internal mental health awareness week, which ran between 11 and 20 May 2016. Training for 20 champions is due to commence in September.
The mental health champions initiative is part of ITN’s mental health strategy, which aims to proactively support staff and reduce occupational stress, while encouraging employee engagement and a sense of organisational community.
ITN has emailed staff to ask for volunteers from across the organisation to become mental health champions. All volunteers will then participate in a two-day course, delivered by Rethink Mental Illness, in order to become formally accredited to administer mental health first aid in their workplace.
ITN will roll out its mental health strategy over the next 18 months. It began in May with a mental health awareness week, which included presentations, daily lunchtime talks and a panel discussion focused on mental health topics.
Further initiatives will include mental health intranet pages, featuring a dedicated page for stress management, webinars, apps and video clip links, which will include mindfulness applications and video interviews. There will also be corporate and charity events to help raise awareness and tackle the stigma of mental health. Employees will also be offered volunteering opportunities.
ITN is also investigating internal policies and procedures to see how to better support mental health, for example, a stress management policy, return-to-work procedures and the introduction of an employee assistance programme.
Lesley Everett, director of operations at ITN, said: “We launched our internal mental health wellbeing strategy in May with 10 days of events around the national mental health awareness week. The most positive feedback about next steps and initiatives was to launch a champions scheme.”