Mental Health Support In The Workplace
Mental Health Support In The Workplace – Are You Doing Enough?
How can you provide mental health support in the workplace? Mental health is never far from the headlines – and with good reason. Figures from the mental health charity, Mind, show that as many as
one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year with anxiety, depression and PTSD among the most common.
Mental health doesn’t discriminate. It is therefore vital that those who are suffering with their mental health are provided with adequate mental health support.
It’s estimated that there are over 200 different types of mental health conditions worldwide. Some disorders you will have heard of, for example anxiety. However, there are many disorders you may not be familiar with, for example, dissociative identity disorder. Each mental health concern is unique and requires its own level of mental health support.
What Is Mental Health Support?
There is no pause button for mental health. If an employee is suffering with a mental health condition it is going to follow them into the workplace. It’s estimated that
one in three employees suffer from a mental health issue whilst in employment.
Health & Safety at Work Act, it’s your responsibility to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of your team. Long gone are the days where this only applies to physical health and safety; psychological health and safety is just as important.
You may be wondering where to start when it comes to supporting employees with mental health issues. Mental health has been heavily stigmatised, resulting in the UK adopting a culture where we aren’t too sure what we should do or say when it comes to supporting someone. Thankfully, over the last few years we’ve realised that ignoring mental health issues only makes the situation worse for all involved.
Here are our top tips on providing mental health support in the workplace: Encourage Conversation
Starting a conversation about mental health can be daunting. However, simply asking ‘are you okay?’ is a great place to start when wanting to provide mental health support. It’s not often people want to start a conversation about their mental health issue. This could be because they’re coping fine, they feel embarrassed or they feel vulnerable opening up. Asking a colleague if they’re okay is a non-judgemental, non-invasive way of creating a dialogue. Conversations often help break down the stigma associated with mental health. Conversation can also be a momentary distraction, setting the foundation for future conversations where your colleague may feel ready to open up.
Implement Mental Health Training
Level 2 first aid for mental health training provides the necessary knowledge and skills to provide mental health support. Upon completion of the course, delegates will become first aiders for mental health. First aiders for mental health are point persons within your business who have been suitably trained to:
identify mental health conditions
provide advice and start conversations
create first aid for mental health action plans
Mental health training has gained recent traction and for good reason. It’s a legal requirement for your business to have a traditional first aider. Therefore, it makes sense that your business also has a mental health first aider,
Create A Healthy Work/Life Balance
There’s no doubt that demanding workloads can cause mental health issues. Increased work hours, overtime and minimal time off leaves little quality ‘me time’ for employees – something which is vital when promoting positive mental health.
A recent survey uncovered that 40% of employees neglect other aspects of their life due to their work. Thus increasing their vulnerability to mental health issues. It’s therefore imperative that you are reasonable when it comes to your employees’ working hours. You can improve your employees’ work/life balance by:
developing work/life balance policies
encouraging managers to spot signs of a ‘burnout’
monitoring your employees’ workload to ensure it’s manageable
Introduce an Employee Assistance Programme
Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are becoming increasingly popular within UK businesses. The main benefit of an EAP is that they provide 24 hour counselling support to employees, whether it be over the phone, face to face or through online portals. EAP’s are a discreet, confidential way of providing mental health support for your employees.
What Are The Benefits
Supporting your employees through any mental health concerns they may have will benefit both the employee and your business. Mental health issues account for 12.7% of absenteeism rates, meaning your bottom line can be severely affected. Ensuring your team are happy, healthy and supported also increases employee motivation, and in turn, your company’s performance levels. After all, healthy employees are happy employees.
For more information on how you can provide effective mental health support for your team you can contact our HR and Occupational Health team on 08450 50 40 60.