Contributed by Petaurum Local
4/12/2019 - Petaurum Local
Talking about mental health has never been more important, especially when it comes to the workplace. We spend the majority of our lives at work, so if mental health isn’t taken seriously then it can have a serious impact on our health. These problems can manifest in many ways such as anxiety, depression or stress, and can stop people from performing their best.
The aim of this resource from Petaurum Solutions is to give you the tools to equip your team, so you can address mental health at work, reduce stigma and open up channels of communication to encourage a healthy dialogue. Smart employers recognise employees who are experiencing mental health problems and support them to cope and recover. 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination and less than half of employees feel they’re able to talk openly with their line manager if they were suffering from stress. By promoting well-being, you can help to break down these barriers to create a positive and healthy working culture. But how can you do that?
Download this article as a printable PDF for free here: https://petaurumsolutions.co.uk/local/resources/
Start from the top
No matter the size of your business, support for mental well-being initiatives need to come from the top to be truly efficient. Conversations about mental health should happen at board level, and not just within the HR department, as employees take cues from how leaders behave.
With the support of the boardroom, you can start to include mental health from the beginning – staff inductions and training. Work with the HR team, or relevant members of your business, to work out how to ensure positive mental health is promoted. Inform new staff of the processes that are in place to show you’re fully supporting well-being at work.
How can you take the stigma away from mental health? It’s often the elephant in the room which can only escalate the problems. Promote discussion and awareness in whatever way feels right for your company. If you can make it seem less daunting, then people will feel more comfortable talking about it
When Deloitte partner John Binns went off sick with acute depression the company knew something had to be done to protect the workforce. It has now introduced Mental Health Champions throughout the business who are on hand for support with advice and informal chats.
Ernest & Young has introduced a similar mental health buddy system so that employees can discuss issues openly with a peer before approaching a line manager.
Not only this, but financial benefit schemes are increasingly important for employees. Receiving discounts on everything from weekly food shops, clothes, getaways, tech and much more, can make wages go further and take financial pressure off. This then can help staff to relax more and worry less. Benefits Cloud works with over 500 partners to bring the best discounts to your staff.
Training for line managers
Whatever your company structure, line managers are essential to help support positive mental health. Yet, only 24% of line managers have received mental health training. They usually know their teams well and can recognise daily changes in mood or behaviour due to working with them closely and often. They will also be the ones dealing with mental health in the workforce. That said, many lack the confidence or experience to manage this alone.
Get feedback – Your managers aren’t mind readers so encourage them to get feedback from their teams. Surveys are a great idea because they can be anonymous, appealing to those too shy to speak up and take little time to set up. By collecting information regularly, your managers can assess where your wellbeing strategy is working, or where needs work. By including your teams in this process, you’re giving them a sense of importance which is helpful to creating a positive culture.
Supporting a staff member – If it becomes apparent one of your staff members is struggling with their mental health, now is the time all the management training, planning and cultivation of well-being at work steps in. The first thing to remember is to be positive and supportive.
There are many ways in which you can equip your team to address mental health at work. Whatever you decide to do to suit your workplace the best, make sure it is honest, well meant and is followed up. Empty promises on mental health initiatives can have a negative effect so be sure from the start what you want to do, how you’re going to do it and if you can see it through with the resources you have. These types of ideas aren’t limited to larger companies; SMEs make up the majority of the nation’s businesses and employ 60% of the private sector workforce. With 70 million working days lost each year due to mental ill health, having mental well-being at the forefront of your business plan is not only a nice idea, but a critical one, too.
What will your mental health strategy look like? For more information, contact us:
East Midlands: 01522 719438
East Anglia: 01728 726501
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