Break the stigma: How workplace counselling can benefit your staff and business
0.8 million workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, and it was the top reason for long-term sickness absences. The number of cases has increased significantly over the past few years, with work-related stress, depression and anxiety accounting for 50% of all new cases of work-related ill health.
Poor mental health at work is gaining more and more attention, as businesses start to realise what a huge impact it can have on employee productivity and business performance.
A common assumption is that mental health problems are just caused by issues at home, so some employers feel it’s not their place – or their responsibility – to step in and support staff. But in
most cases, people’s mental health issues are a combination of problems they face at work and outside work.
But how can you as an employer help to manage and improve employee mental health at work?
In this article, we explain how to spot the signs of poor mental health in your employees and how implementing a workplace counselling programme can benefit not only your team, but also your business.
What are the signs that a team member may be struggling with their mental health?
There are some clear signs that someone could be struggling with their mental health – but it’s important you don’t just assume that, because someone is showing any of these behaviours, they are definitely suffering with a mental health issue. They could be linked to something else. That’s why it’s important to talk to your employees one-on-one if you have concerns.
The signs of poor mental health include:
problems with thinking
sleep or appetite changes
irritability, anger and aggression
loss of humour
leaving early, lateness, or extended lunches
To read more about the signs of poor mental health, check out the “People Manager’s Guide to Mental Health” by the CIPD and Mind
What impact can workplace counselling have on mental health and employee wellbeing?
Counselling services give an employee a chance to talk to a fully qualified counsellor about the challenges they’re facing and learn ways to cope. It can have a huge impact on your workforce, with benefits including:
improving an individual’s self-esteem
reducing stress and anxiety
enabling employees to regain emotional balance and self-worth
feeling more able to manage their personal response to emotional difficulties
learning coping strategies that will support them in both the short and long term
can lead to reduced sickness absence
positive impact in an employee’s work and home life
What are the different types of counselling?
Employee counselling services can come in many forms, depending on the needs of your employee. From face-to-face counselling to video sessions, behavioural therapy to an Employee Assistance Programme – counselling can cover a wide range of mental health issues and logistical requirements.
The types of workplace counselling services include:
Can workplace counselling cover issues outside of the workplace?
Workplace counselling doesn’t just have to address issues employees are facing at work – it can also address issues outside of the workplace. It’s important to understand how an employee’s work and home lives can impact on each other, and therefore think about how measures you put in place at work can have a positive impact in both spheres of their life.
The issue that is affecting their work performance might not be one that has originated from work, so counselling will cover all areas of an individual’s life to establish the route cause of the issues they’re facing.
What can businesses do to remove the stigma surrounding counselling?
Employee counselling services sometimes bring with them a certain stigma – where people feel like counselling is only for the most severe issues, or fail to recognise the positive impact it can have, or feel reluctant to admit they’re receiving support.
So, to help remove this stigma, you should try to create a work environment where employees feel supported and listened to. You can do this by:
Holding regular training sessions/group sessions promoting the importance of occupational health and being open about mental health
Normalising the word counselling
Having a counsellor come in to the workplace to conduct
wellbeing workshops and promote counselling to staff
How to ensure that remote workers know that a workplace counselling service is available
It’s all well and good putting an employee counselling service in place, but how do you make sure all employees – including those who work from home – are aware of it and know how to take advantage of it?
You have a few options, including:
online workshop and wellbeing days promoting the counselling service Ensuring all remote staff are included any reading or promotional material
Making sure all staff including remote staff to have access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) service where a trained counsellor is available 24/7 to support an employee with mental health, financial and family issues
The role HR plays in employee counselling
For a truly effective and impactful workplace counselling programme, HR alongside senior management should actively promote the employee counselling services.
You can do this by sending regular communication to employees with the benefits of occupational health and making sure employees know HR can be an initial point of contact if they need support with their mental health. You may also choose to include mental health coverage as part of health care plan.
How ELAS OH can help
Our employee counselling services are led by fully qualified counsellors who will work with your employees to better understand and manage any mental health challenges they are facing.
It’s a fantastic way to boost employee productivity and make sure they feel supported at work.
To find out more, simply complete the contact form to the right and a member of our team will be in touch shortly!