Suffolk BT staff lead way in healthcare

BT's workforce in Suffolk is set be part of a major drive by the company to reduce mental health problems such as depression and stress among its staff.

BT's workforce in Suffolk is set be part of a major drive by the company to reduce mental health problems such as depression and stress among its staff.

The telecoms giant is aiming to help the hundreds of its workers who are off sick with mental health problems by promoting a health awareness programme among its 104,000 strong workforce.

The programme will include tips on how to combat mental ill-health through simple steps like regular exercise, healthy eating and relaxation techniques.

BT, which operates a major research facility employing more than 3,000 people at Martlesham's Adastral Park, said it also wanted to reduce the stigma of mental illness and promote a range of support services available to sufferers.

The company has revealed that about 500 of its staff are off work sick every day with psychiatric problems.

BT's chief medical officer Dr Paul Litchfield said: “Mental well-being is the biggest health issue facing us in the western world.

Most Read

“Attitudes and behaviours moulded by the gentler pace of life of the second half of the 20th century will not serve us well in coping with the frantic intensity of our 24/7 global society.

“We need to help our people get mentally fit for their lives at home and at work.

“BT takes pride in the way it supports people who develop mental illness but we want to go beyond that and help them avoid ill health in the first place so they can lead happier and more productive lives.”

BT's move to improve the health of its workforce coincided with the release of a report which showed that the cost of mental health problems in England alone was £32billion a year, partly through lost employment and productivity.

Consultants Right Corecare said millions of working days were lost every year because of mental ill health.

Firms were urged to promote physical fitness and to make sure their staff were not working long hours.

Weblink: www.bt.com; www.atadastral.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter