Today marks the first day of National Mental Health Awareness Week (9th-15th May) which serves as a reminder for supporting and prioritising employees’ mental wellbeing in the workplace.
With mental health problems affecting one in six British workers each year and mental health being one of the leading cause of sickness absence, the mental health charity, Mind has published a Thriving at Work review to address this issue. The Independent review sets out six mental health core standards for employers and how they can support the wellbeing of their staff, which included ensuring employees have good working conditions which foster a supportive environment and open dialogue on all mental health matters.
Supporting employees’ mental health
So, what can employers do to ensure their employees mental health is taken seriously in the workplace?
One key way to improve our practices is to be mindful of how we approach conversations around mental health, which often attracts stigma, making it harder for employees to open up. By openly listening to our teams’ needs, there is an opportunity to positively support their mental health. Whether this is done through regular check-in meetings with management teams or mentor programmes, open and honest communication is one core way to remove the stigma and understand the individual needs for each employee.
When asked about workplace stress, research conducted by Mind found that 56% of employers said they'd like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel they have the right guidance. Moreover, 30% of staff feel unable to express their stress with their line manager.
Employers should encourage positive mental health by arranging mental health awareness training and workshops, appointing mental health 'champions’, and making sure their staff is not over worked and have enough time to rest, especially during busy periods.
Employees’ mental wellbeing is an investment for the business
Taking care of your employees’ wellbeing also brings great benefits to your company. Mind found that more than one in five workers said they had called in sick to avoid work and 14% of employees said they had resigned because of workplace stress.
This clearly supports that the mental health of your workforce is essential to the success of your organisation. Therefore, cultivating a supportive environment is a long-term investment for the business as well.
How to approach the topic of mental health with your employees
If you believe an employee is struggling, knowing how to open the conversation can be difficult. Being calm and flexible to ensure the conversation supports them and is conducted at their pace is key. Be sure to reassure them that the conversation is private, and everything shared will be strictly confidential.
These conversations can be challenging to navigate, but you should know what resources and support you can offer and signpost them clearly. For more information on how you can support your employees’ mental health, visit the Mind website for free resources.
Supporting staff’s mental health is paramount to supporting the success and health of your organisation. Take time this mental health awareness week to see what more you could do to facilitate mentally healthy working.
Mental wellbeing is a subject close to our hearts and this is also reflected in our client base. We are proud to be working with Cardinal Clinic, a private mental health hospital in Windsor operating for over 45 years. For more mental wellbeing content, check out our blog listing our favourite mental health apps in 2023.