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Monday, 22 January 2024 16:12

Mental Health in the Workplace

According to Mind, poor mental health can affect one in four people at some point in their life. In the workplace, supporting mental health sustains employee satisfaction and employee engagement. Supporting mental health should be part of a wider employee wellbeing initiative. Investing in employee wellbeing increases resilience, retention and reduces absenteeism. Simply put, employees are of course more productive when they are happy.


But supporting mental health in the workplace doesn’t just come from an employee satisfaction angle. According to Deloitte, the cost of poor mental health to UK businesses is £56billion annually. Poor mental health means teams cannot be high performing therefore profit is affected. Implementation of a workplace mental health and well being strategy is an investment that will reap rewards in productivity, attendance and staff retention.

The Business Case
The UK Government’s 2017 Thriving at Work report concluded that the ‘Mental Health at Work’ challenge was much larger than previously thought. In the near seven years since that report, the statistics haven’t improved. According to the Health and Safety Executive, poor mental health accounts for more than half of all work-related illnesses. Around 51% of long-term sick leave is due to stress, depression, or anxiety. At the same time, a survey carried out by MHFA England demonstrates that a third of managers feel out of their depth supporting the team with their mental health concerns. These numbers show that poor mental health is affecting our workforce yet a large number of managers do not feel confident in supporting them. This has of course exacerbated the challenge that is supporting mental health in the workplace.


By not knowing what to say, when to say it or what the boundaries are, managers cannot create high performing teams without being confident in speaking to their employees.


Equally, under the Health and Safety Act at Work Act, employers have a ‘duty of care’ towards their employees. They must treat mental and physical health as equally important. It is therefore imperative that the workforce has an awareness of mental health in the workplace. Moreover, managers should be confident to know what to say to their employees. This combined will proactively pre-empt a poor mental health situation at work. This in turn will allow businesses to meet their legal obligations as well as reducing staff absenteeism, increasing the chances of keeping a mentally healthy team and balance wellbeing as well as commercial targets.


The Solutions


Within our society and workplace, there is still stigma and misunderstanding about mental health. Increasing awareness of mental health and building confident managers can help break taboos and create an inclusive culture.
At HR Champions, we propose a few solutions:


- Looking at the Organisation’s Culture
Business should support an open culture around mental health to reduce the stigma. They can promote awareness of mental health issues across the workforce, train people managers and spotlight support services. Equally, job design should be reviewed to ensure employees are not working long hours and remain fresh and productive.

- Mental Health First Aiders
Mental Health First Aiders are trained to spot the early signs of mental health issues and can sign post individuals towards appropriate support services. MHFAs shouldn’t just be HR or the SLT but also members of the team. Colleagues may feel more comfortable opening up to someone at their level.

- Wellbeing Policy
Having a wellbeing policy commits the organisation to creating an environment that supports employee health and wellbeing. It should be endorsed by the senior management team and visible to the rest of the workforce.

- Mental Health Skills for Managers
This course is designed to build the manager’s confidence in understanding mental health conditions and holding conversations with team members around mental health. It is vital that managers are confident and know what to say to their team to avoid an escalation of issues.

Changing a company's culture, reducing the stigma around mental health and building confident managers does not happen overnight. For help and advice or information on mental health in the workplace training, we're here and happy to help. Get in touch by calling 01452 331331 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  

Read 380 times Last modified on Tuesday, 30 January 2024 10:22

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HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

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