NEWS: Brightwave develops ground-breaking mental health support for retail workers

Brightwave was commissioned by Samaritans to build on the success of Wellbeing in the Workplace and create mental wellbeing support tailored for UK retail staff.

On World Mental Health Day 2019, Samaritans launched Wellbeing in Retail, a digital learning solution developed by Brightwave to launch a new online training guide to help the mental health and wellbeing of retail workers at some of Britain’s most prominent retail brands.

Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK and the development of this online guide was inspired by research which revealed that over 50% of retail workers questioned, could not recognise the signs of someone needing emotional support and around 25% would not feel confident approaching an upset colleague.

With increased absence due to mental health issues, increased demand from employees for information and increased expectation from millennials for support, there has never been a better time to take a proactive approach to workplace health and wellbeing.

Brightwave and Samaritans responded to this need with a blended, campaign-based learning intervention that:

  • Improves understanding of wellbeing and overcomes communication barriers around the subject
  • Develops colleagues’ awareness, perception, and emotional intelligence
  • Gives retail staff permission, confidence and capability to take action on mental health and wellbeing
  • Creates a shared environment where wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility.

The Wellbeing in Retail online guide features practical information, activities and resources that can be accessed whenever and however workers need it, accessible via desktop, phone or tablet.

With a potential audience of 900,000 learners across seven leading UK retail brands, the scale and breadth of the project represented a serious challenge.

The diversity of the audience required a diversity of learning resources and delivery that rethinks digital learning solutions, featuring a variety of tools such as breathing techniques, the Samaritans listening wheel, a mood barometer, films from mental health experts and case studies are available.

Workers can access the guide and resources as often as they like to help them to build their own emotional resilience and to give them the courage and confidence to support someone else when they are struggling.

The launch of the Wellbeing in Retail tool complements Samaritans’ Wellbeing in the Workplace online learning programme which was launched in 2018 initially for City workers with the help of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and has been successfully rolled out to over 800 organisations, including multiple government and Civil Service departments.

The Wellbeing in the Workplace programme brought Samaritans’ sixty years of active listening and wellbeing expertise into the workplace and was named Learning Solution of the Year at the 2019 Learning Awards.

Caroline Freeman, Director of Design for Brightwave said:

“Brightwave, along with our sister organisations in Capita People Solutions, understand the vital importance of supporting open conversations about mental health within today’s workplaces. We are committed to developing digital learning which challenges perceptions, changes workplace cultures and gives individuals practical ways of supporting their wellbeing more effectively. Learning experiences like Wellbeing in Retail make a real difference. We are delighted to play our part and build on our valued relationship with the Samaritans.”

Jason Jaspal, Assistant Director of Business Development added:

“Samaritans is there for everyone and the success of Wellbeing in the Workplace demonstrated a demand, from both staff and employers, for tools that help them improve mental health in the working environment. Each industry comes with its own challenges, so Brightwave’s help in developing bespoke advice and support for retail staff has been invaluable and supports our aim to help everyone cope with the challenges life throws at us.”

For more information about the Wellbeing in Retail guide, click here.


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