Health and Wellbeing - to promote wellbeing and good mental health and tackle mental health stigma and discrimination
Priority 2.1 Our Staff will be supported and appropriate services promoted
As an employer we will raise awareness of mental health and support services
Awareness raising initiatives have included:
- Staff Health & Well-being website- this was launched on 9 April 2020 via a Gov Notify message from the Chief Executive. The website is accessible inside and outside the Council, via a range of digital devices, including personal smartphones. This resource was reviewed, refreshed and relaunched in May 2021.
- Occupational Health (OH) Unit Helpline - this service is available Monday to Friday during office hours providing advice and signposting to employees.
- Wellbeing Through Work- the Council has been able to access this mental health and wellbeing service which is provided to NHS employees. This service provides a wide range of support on both physical and mental health well-being including referral to specialist support services. This onward referral includes Trauma Support for those who encounter traumatic experiences.
- Occupational Health (OH) Unit Referral Helpline - a referral service for managers to deal with critical OH matters.
- School Counselling Service Helpline for school based staff- providing signposting advice and guidance in relation to the mental health and wellbeing of teaching and learning support assistants, as well as providing advisory support and guidance on how teachers and learning support assistants can support young people deal with issues arising from Coronavirus.
- Primary School Call Back Service for parents - this service provided by the School Based Counselling Service supports parents in supporting the emotional wellbeing of their children during this time.
- Communications focus on wellbeing- mental health and wellbeing feature regularly in employee communications, including the Intranet, HR SWAY and In the Loop.
- Time to Change Wales Employee Champions Network - 12 employees were recruited to be Employee Champions in the summer of 2021. The Champions were trained by Time to Change Wales and are instrumental in providing support for employees within their service areas in relation to mental health and wellbeing and are also the link to rolling out corporate health and wellbeing initiatives across the Council.
- World Mental Health Day 10 October 2020 - five days of activities to support mental health and wellbeing were arranged for week commencing 5 October 2020 in support of World Mental Health Day. These activities involved virtual Tai Chi, talks from Wellbeing Through Work in relation to home working, Mindfulness sessions and Wellbeing Workshops. All were very well attended.
- Return to workplaces following COVID-19 lockdown - risk assessments and manager guidance refer to the emotional well-being impact of the return to workplaces, as well as the physical arrangements that are necessary.
As an employer we will update and implement policies to address mental health in the workplace
- We have developed robust polices to support the health and wellbeing of employees, including the Maximising Attendance at Work policy, and the Rehabilitation Scheme. In addition to this, guidance was issued to accountable managers in 2020, to support them to implement reasonable adjustments to enable employees with disabilities to sustain employment. The review of the Performance Appraisal Policy, the Corporate Supervision template and the Induction ‘checklist’ has taken account of the Council’s commitment to the Time to Change Wales Employer Pledge, providing a focus on supporting employee well-being and mental health as a key part of the performance management discussion.
- The council is accredited as a Disability Confident Employer, achieving Level 2, with accreditation in place until August 2022. By continuing our Disability Confident journey, the Council is ensuring that disabled people and those with long-term health conditions have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.
We will provide information to employees about mental health and signpost to support services
- Please see information above
We will continue to implement our Time to Change Wales Employer Pledge Action Plan
- The Council has determined that its strategy will be delivered via the Time to Change Wales Employer Pledge Scheme. An action plan was developed in partnership with trade unions and endorsed at the highest level of the organisation. It was formally launched in partnership with Time to Change Wales at Staff Council in September 2019, and the Action Plan presented to and monitored on a regular basis by Personnel Committee.
We will provide training and resources for staff to help raise awareness of mental health issues and help reduce the stigma associated with mental health
A range of training initiatives has been offered by the Learning, Training and Development (LT&D) Team:
- Online First Aid for Mental Health course- prior to the COVID-19 emergency we had started to roll out this certificated course, provided face to face by Neath College to group of around 20 at a time. The LT&D team have worked with Neath College to develop this into an online webinar, which is also certificated. This has now been completed by 77 employees.
- Mindfulness Course- 38 employees completed a five week online course offered in partnership with UNISON and funded by the Wales Union Learning Fund
- The Wellbeing Series - five online webinars designed to help participants optimise their wellbeing, was provided initially to our Corporate Management Group, to support the mental health and wellbeing of the senior team. The series was so successful it has been rolled out across social services, to head teachers and to the Test Trace Protect Service
Priority 2.2 Our Children and young people can access appropriate support
We will redesign our systems relating to Emotional, Mental Health Wellbeing support to provide a simpler integrated access to services
- Work has been undertaken to map the emotional and mental health support for schools. This will be aligned to new Inclusion Service processes for Additional Learning Needs (ALN) reform to ensure a clear pathway.
- Meetings are planned with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Barnardo’s to develop ways their service delivery aligns with this pathway.
- Five schools have been identified as pilots for Welsh Governments Whole School Approach to Emotional and Mental Well-being. This is being led by the implementation lead in public health who will work closely with officers within education.
- Youth Mental Health First Aid Training has been delivered to ensure every secondary school and special school has staff trained up as Mental Health First Aiders
Priority 2.3 Our Communities that need support will be able to access appropriate services
We will honour our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, ensuring that no veteran, or family member of serving personnel or a veteran, is disadvantaged by their service, when accessing health and wellbeing support and services
- Since the start of the pandemic in late March 2020, a weekly and sometimes daily, ‘Update’ briefing was sent to all stakeholders in the South West Wales Armed Forces Covenant area.
- The briefings were used to raise awareness of local policies and available support to those who were experiencing certain difficulties during the lockdown, such as mental health support, combating domestic abuse, and employment support.
- The ‘Update’ was disseminated widely across Wales by recipients to their networks and stakeholders, including many families in our community whose loved ones were either in the regular forces, or the reserves, who were mobilised to fight the cause on the home front.
We will contribute to the Public Services Board’s work to reduce suicide rates in the county borough
- We have established a Suicide Rapid Response Group (SRRG), which is activated at any suspected suicide (Adult), or unexpected death (Child). The aim of this Group is to reduce risk and harm to those remaining and prevent other suicides. The protocol is currently being revised to include significant attempted suicide and sudden death under 21.
- A suite of data is reported to the Safeguarding Board on a quarterly basis to track any themes and patterns that may be emerging from this cohort of individuals in a bid to prevent future suicides. We are currently looking at a suite of data following attempted suicides.
- Suicide rates will also be considered as part of the next iteration of our Wellbeing Assessment, which is currently in development and is due to be published in May 2022.
We will provide information to the public about mental health and signpost to support services from our website
- The council signposts people from its website to DEWIS (an online directory that contains information on over 6,000 local and national organisations or services that can help people with their wellbeing).
We will work with Public Health Wales and Swansea Bay University Local Health Board to help address the impact of COVID-19 on health and social care staff
- We continue to work closely with Public Health Wales and Swansea Bay University Local Health Board with the development of Wellbeing support tools accessible for staff affected by COVID-19.
We will work within the regional NHS Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) Service to engage all people, including those with protected characteristics in the health protection programme and we will also ensure that all people who need to access the TTP service can do so, ensuring access caters for all
- During January-March 2021 there were 2,582 Index Cases (Positive Cases) contacted with 2,047 Cases Eligible for Follow up, of which 2,040 Cases (99.6%) were successfully followed up by the Test, Trace and Protect Service (Neath Port Talbot).
- There were a total of 5,708 Contact Exposures (Contacts) with 4,847 Contacts Eligible for Follow up, of which 4,461 Cases (92%) were successfully followed up by the Test, Trace and Protect Service (Neath Port Talbot).
- Successful follow-ups were well above the service’s performance target as set by Welsh Government (80%).