5 Steps to Support Mental Health in the Workplace

As we become more aware of the integral role that mental health plays in overall well-being, it’s crucial that employers take steps to create and maintain a supportive work environment. Our 5 steps to support mental health in the workplace will reflect research that shows mental health challenges can significantly impact productivity and overall job satisfaction. Mental ill health costs the UK economy upwards of £34.9 billion annually.

For organisations in the UK and globally, addressing mental health in the workplace is not only a moral responsibility but also a business imperative.

Here are 5 steps to support mental health in the workplace:

1. Encourage Open Dialogue

Firstly, employers must foster an environment where mental health is not stigmatised. Open dialogue about mental health should be encouraged and supported. This could involve training for managers on how to have supportive conversations, regular check-ins, and the provision of platforms where employees can discuss their experiences and challenges. This openness shows employees that it’s okay to speak up and seek help when they’re struggling, which is an essential step towards providing the necessary support.

2. Provide Access to Mental Health Resources

Knowledge is power, and having access to appropriate resources can empower employees to take proactive steps in managing their mental health. This might include educational materials, workshops, and training, as well as providing access to professional help such as counsellors or psychologists. Many companies now include mental health coverage in their health benefits package, providing subsidised or free access to mental health professionals.

3. Implement Flexible Working Hours

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to working hours. Offering flexible working schedules can significantly reduce stress for employees, particularly those juggling other commitments like family. A flexible schedule can allow for a healthier work-life balance, accommodating personal responsibilities and time for relaxation and self-care.

4. Encourage Physical Health and Wellness

Physical health is closely tied to mental health. Companies can support both by encouraging healthy behaviours. This could be anything from offering discounted gym memberships, organising sports activities, providing healthier food options, or even just ensuring regular breaks for stretching and moving around. Keeping active can boost mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall mental well-being.

5. Regularly Review and Update Policies

Mental health is a dynamic field, and new research and strategies are continually emerging. Employers should regularly review their policies and procedures relating to mental health support, ensuring they are up to date and reflecting best practice. Feedback from employees can also be invaluable in understanding the effectiveness of current strategies and identifying areas for improvement.

Support

Here are some links to relevant support systems:

Shout 85258

Shout is the UK’s first and only free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope.

Rethink Mental Illness

Our mission is to deliver a better life for people severely affected by mental illness. Our network of groups, services and advice lines are on hand to get you the support you need. Use your postcode to search your area.

NHS

NHS urgent mental health helplines are for people of all ages.

Conclusion

In conclusion, supporting mental health at work is not a one-off effort but requires a sustained and multifaceted approach. Employers who take these steps will not only fulfil their moral obligations but also see improvements in productivity, staff retention, and overall morale.

Promoting mental health in the workplace is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee. It is an investment in human capital that yields substantial returns in the long term. As an HR consultancy, we are ready to assist businesses in implementing these strategies and creating healthier, happier workplaces. Let’s work together to make mental health support at work the norm, not the exception.

If you wish to discuss how we can assist you, please contact us today.

Employee Sickness Absence, Mental Health, Performance Management

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