With MIND’s Time to Talk Day being marked today, Human Resources Business Partner at SVC, Katy Williams, explains what strategies an employer can use to help employees with mental health.
We are all affected by mental health throughout our lives, both our own and the impacts of others. There may be difficult times and personal challenges, and we need to be self-aware of any changes to our own mental health. If individuals are not self-aware, or they ignore how they are feeling, their mental health could deteriorate further. We often give more focus to our physical health, by exercising and incorporating healthy eating and drinking habits into our daily routines, but to ensure overall health and well-being we all need to have both good physical and mental health.
As an employer ignoring poor mental health of any employee in the workplace will have a detrimental impact on both the employee as well as the wider business. If an employee is behaving or acting differently, these changes must not be ignored, as the changes could be signs that the employee is feeling mentally unwell. Asking someone if they are OK, and regularly checking in to see if they are still OK, as well as creating an environment of open dialogue with your employees, so they can freely talk with either a Mental Health First Aider, or someone they feel comfortable to talk to, these are all key strategies to help support employees in the workplace. You do not need to wait for an employee to be absent from work to hold a welfare meeting. Early intervention is key.
According to the Mental Health Foundation 1 in 6 people will experience mental health problems in the workplace, and in 2023 there were over 12 billion working days lost due to employees being absent due to depression and anxiety. These figures are staggering and ignoring mental health in the workplace is not an option.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how people think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how individual’s handle stress, relate to others, and make lifestyle choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life; from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood and for the elderly. Poor mental health can happen to anyone at any time and can be triggered by a variety of different things. Mental health is individual and because of this, it can be extremely hard for both the employer to manage as well as the individual.
Detailed below are some ideas and strategies that could be implemented to help employee’s mental health in the workplace.
• Having a Mental Health and Wellbeing policy to communicate and signpost employees to accessing help and support, and approaches to take.
• Promoting awareness and educating all employees on Mental Health, these could be lunch and learn sessions, bite sized training, or completing eLearning.
• Ensuring there are enough Mental Health First Aiders working in the business.
• Promoting work life balance and healthy working practices.
• Continuously reviewing job designs and employee workloads.
• Ensuring there are readily available and accessible resources for all employees on mental health support that is available, such as those provided by charities like MIND and the Samaritans.
• Training Line Managers on recognising the signs of mental ill health and how to approach conversations and support individuals appropriately.
• Introducing an Employee Assistance Programme, to enable employees to access confidential counselling and third-party support services.
At SVC the team of HR Consultants are all trained Mental Health First Aiders, and they would all be happy to provide any advice, training, and guidance on any issues you may have, as well as implementing any of the above wellbeing strategies.
Mental Health First Aider Course
On 6th March 2024 we have a few spaces left on our Mental Health First Aid course. The knowledge you will gain from this training could potentially change or save someone’s life. If you would like more information on the course, or to discuss attending on an alternative date, please contact [email protected].