AN insurance firm has taken steps to increase mental health provision for its staff.

Inspired by mental health awareness week last week and the Heads Together campaign, the CEO of SJL Insurance, Simon Lancaster, has incorporated a new service for his staff.

From June 2019, a mental health nurse will be in the office two days a month to have private discussions with staff to discuss anything they wish to about their mental health.

When making the booking, they do not need to say what their problem is in order to maintain confidentiality and encourage staff to come forwards.

In addition to taking on Nurse Carie Workman, SJL department leader Jen Hall-Annison and her colleague Kate Hanson, are going on a Mental Health First Aiders course to learn practical skills to spot the signs of mental illness.

This will give them the confidence to support a person who needs assistance.

Mr Lancaster said: “The first of five core values at SJL Insurance is to make SJL Insurance the best place for employees to work in the UK insurance industry.

“Having seen all the press coverage on the Heads Together campaign and mental health awareness week it inspired me to take action and to hire a mental health nurse to work here.

“Mental health problems come in many forms, ranging from issues like coping with stress levels in the workplace to more severe problems.

“Most people will be affected by issues within this range and our staff are no different, whether it be issues at home or at work talking about them with a professional should help.

“It is fantastic to see the stigma around mental health being blown away, if you had a physical health problem you wouldn’t hesitate in talking about it and seeking treatment. Mental health should be no different.

“Since we made the announcement the staff have been overwhelmingly positive and upbeat about this initiative, and many have already booked appointments which is amazing.”

According to the Mental Health Foundation, in England, 75 per cent of suicides are men, for whom suicide is the most common cause of death for males aged between 20 and 49.