Whilst things have most certainly improved in society when it comes to talking about mental health, unfortunately there is still a stigma that surrounds it, resulting in people struggling in silence. This can be particularly evident in the working environment, where employees refrain from talking about their struggles out of fear that it may tarnish their employer’s/colleagues’ view of them. However, it’s important to remember that we all have mental health and just like our physical health we must look after it.
In light of Mental Health Awareness Week (15th – 21st May 2023), we thought we would share our top tips on how you can support your employee’s mental health in the workplace.
Create an Open Culture
“My door is always open!”, it’s a common saying in management, but how many managers truly mean that? Do you create a culture where your team feel comfortable approaching you?
Whether it’s with you or a designated employee, teams should be encouraged to discuss challenges they are facing that are impacting their ability to be happy at work, we spend a large proportion of our lives here after all! Some causes of stress or anxiety may be short term and the likelihood is someone could be going through similar challenges or have faced those challenges before so therefore can offer some much-needed advice.
However, in circumstances where an individual needs ongoing one to one support due to long term struggles with their mental health, engage in regular supervisions and undertake a mental health risk assessment to establish what further support can be provided to the employee on a long term basis, this may include referring the individual for an Occupational Health Assessment where employers can gain a better understanding of the employees condition and seek recommendations from a health professional on how best to support the individual.
Have a Designated Mental Health First Aider (MHFA)
If we had an accident or felt physically unwell at work, we would go and see the First Aider, but what happens if an employee feels mentally unwell? Introducing a MHFA to the workplace will enable both proactive and reactive support to be provided to employees by a trained expert. Employers can sign up designated employees to become Mental Health First Aider’s with ‘MHFA England’, where they can undertake a course that will allow them to gain a certification in MHFA. The course will ‘teach people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue’. enabling them to identify and prevent a crisis from happening.
Data Drives Initiative!
An anonymised survey can go a long way to understanding your employees’ views. By creating an online survey, employers can find out how their employees are feeling regarding their mental health and wellbeing at work and allow them to use the data to improve Company culture and invest in resources that will promote positive employee wellbeing. Also, anonymising the survey, may result in more employees engaging and therefore provide a more wholistic summary of data.
Signposting -> Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Finally, for employees who don’t wish to discuss their struggles at work, signpost them towards your Employee Assistance Program (EAP), should you have one. This provides confidential support from an over the phone counsellor without the need for the employer to be involved. If you don’t have an EAP in place, get in touch with us as this could be the first step you take to supporting your employee’s mental health and wellbeing at work!
If you need any further advice on this topic, please contact us on 01527 909 436.