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Mental Health Support at IPO

IPO offer a variety of support networks focused around mental well-being; Staff Counsellors, Peer-to-Peer support group, mental health advocates, and “The Haven”. Our focus this year was to measure the effectiveness of our current mental health services. We set ourselves a ministerial target to “externally validate and benchmark our provision for the mental health of our people” and used the MIND Workplace Wellbeing Index as the vehicle for this. At the end of April we received a copy of our report which confirmed that we were one of only 15 organisations this year to achieve the highest category of a Gold Award which is given to organisations which have successfully embedded mental health into their policies and practices.

Out of 106 employers we were ranked 12th overall. Some of the other activities we’ve delivered this year are:

  • Rock Choir delivered an interactive singing session for Mental Health Week
  • We took part in the Green Ribbon Campaign and staff shared maintaining good mental health hints and tips
  • Mental health first aiders have received further training, which includes mental health version 4 and suicide intervention skills
  • Mental Health first aiders have been visiting teams across the organisation to promote their services
  • Run further mindfulness sessions
  • Collaborated with universities to better understand the challenges that new graduates face when entering the world of work.
  • Provide a series of “Pessimism & Perfectionism” workshops by Wellbeing Republic.
  • Staff Counsellors to continue to run stress reduction workshops.
  • We continued delivering menopause awareness sessions for staff via a senior staff member who sharing her personal experience
  • Samaritans delivered an informative suicide awareness session

Wellbeing Republic: Nick Bloy provided a well-received all staff talk on the character traits that affect legal professionals. Due to demand we are arranging smaller workshops that look into this in more detail. Provide a series of “Pessimism & Perfectionism” workshops by Wellbeing Republic.

Jonathan’s Voice:  A charity set up in memory of Jonathan McCartney an IP Attorney. They have provided an all staff talk on male suicide in the legal profession and we will be working with them to review guidance documents and web pages.

University of the West of England (UWE) & Nottingham University: We have held initial discussions with both organisations on what we can learn from their mental health initiatives with graduates.

Vancouver Group: We’ve started to benchmark with other IP offices in the Group (Canada and Australia).  A report of mental health in our work places has been produced and we are now looking at what we can learn and how we can work with the Vancouver Group more closely.

Mentors: We rolled out a programme where mentors from across the office support new Patent examiners.

Training: Training has been reviewed in light of best practice on mental health.

Confident Wellbeing Leaders Training: Mandatory training in positive psychology for SCS across government. Opened up to D1’s and above in IPO.

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