Council launches training scheme to help workers recognise stress

A rural borough council has introduced an innovative training programme to
help its staff recognise and deal with symptoms of stress.

Boston Borough Council, after receiving a grant from the DTI, developed the
scheme to help council employees understand the increasingly widespread
condition and prevent it from affecting their home or working lives.

All line managers have attended training sessions that teach them how to
spot signs of stress, assess the risks and, if necessary, support their staff
correctly.

Junior staff have also received stress awareness training which includes
sessions on recognition, positive coping strategies, support mechanisms and
relaxation techniques.

Katharine Nundy, a personnel officer at the council, which employs around
400 staff, said she hoped the measures would also help fulfil the HSE stress
management standards, due to be introduced next year.

"It has helped our staff understand stress and really raised awareness
of the problem. It’s such a buzzword at the moment but not everybody knows what
it really means.

"We also hope this will help with the HSE rules and in reflection, I
think it will enable us to meet some of them," she said.

Boston was awarded money from the DTI Partnership Fund following a stress
audit in 2001 which identified some hotspots among frontline staff, especially
where they dealt with the public.

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