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PDA Education delivers its first mental health course for reps

Ahead of Mental Health Awareness week, PDA Education delivered a new 'Organising on Mental Health' interactive course for PDA Reps. The course helped reps to learn how to support members and to prioritise their own mental health. Reps also developed an action plan to improve mental health in their workplaces and with employers.

Thu 12th May 2022 The PDA

The training delivered by PDA Education aimed to build upon the PDA’s ‘It’s Time to Address Stress’ campaign which was launched in April 2022. The campaign includes a factsheet on stress in the workplace.

The recent mental health training course for PDA Reps took place at Quorn Grange in Leicestershire.

Clare Hirst, PDA Organiser said, “Mental health problems are the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK and having trained reps who are able to have informed and open conversations with members and employers is an important step in tackling this issue. Under our ‘It’s Time to Address Stress’ campaign, PDA Reps have been raising awareness of the legal duties employers have around mental health and identifying good workplace policies and practices that support pharmacists. This training will allow them to develop their work supporting colleagues whilst playing a positive role in improving working conditions through dialogue with their employers.”

Jyoti Saini, PDA Committee Rep (West England and Wales) said, ‘’I attended the PDA mental health for workplace reps course. I found it was valuable to work with colleagues from other sectors of pharmacy to enable me to gain and share ideas in ways I can support staff, as well as my organisation. The course provided me with strategies to not only think about and support my own stress levels, but how to recognise this in my workplace colleagues. I now feel empowered to consider any improvements to policies and deliver some of this information to other primary care pharmacists within my team, as well as in the wider NHS organisations.”

Mithul Shah, PDA Boots Regional Rep (Central London and Greater London North) said, After the course it was quite clear that mental health forms part of a person’s general wellbeing and needs to be discussed amongst colleagues so that we can support better mental health. We shouldn’t be afraid of sharing our experiences in order to help each other.”

Emma Tinley, PDA Education Programme Manager said, “It was a great course with lots of discussions. The reps shared their experiences and supported each other to come up with some brilliant ideas on how they could help improve mental health for members in their workplaces. It was a great follow on for the reps that had completed the health and safety training and helped us to further build the ongoing PDA stress campaign. As it is Mental Health Awareness Week this week as well, we encouraged the reps to think about how they could take part and raise awareness.”

Daniela Rusalim, Vice-President of the PDA NAWP Network and PDA Boots Regional Rep (East of England) said, “The mental health training has been a great opportunity to better understand how employees can be supported if their mental health is affected in the workplace. The structure of the course and the information provided was relevant and the case studies invited reflection on how the PDA trade union representatives can better support their colleagues. My favourite part was the section where we all talked about the actions we were going to take following the completion of the course and I was inspired by the determination of the other reps to lead on initiatives to benefit the colleagues we represent.”

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