Lets’ talk about mental health in the workplace…

Published: 16th May 2018 | Author: Kate Howes

Today we’re talking mental health and well-being as part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2018…

It’s a REALLY important topic for everyone to be discussing as most people will be affected by some form of mental health issue in their lifetime, whether it be the individual themselves or somebody they care about.

Specifically, we’re going to talk about mental health in the workplace. The 2017 Thriving at Work review showed that more people with mental health conditions are in work than ever before, which is great and shows a change in attitudes towards mental health in the workplace. For employers, it should lead to the question “how can I support my employees?”, whether they have existing mental health issues or not. Employers should be aware that a negative or stressful working environment can cause the beginnings of mental health issues in people who have never experienced them before, and exacerbate them in those who have already got a mental health condition.

It is also in the best interest for employers to actively take the happiness, good mental health and wellbeing of their staff into account as failing to support your employees can be costly if they need more time off than they might have done if given the right help in the workplace. As part of the Thriving at Work review, Deloitte concluded that this costs UK employers between £33 billion and £42 billion each year! Making small changes to help support the wellbeing of your workforce can be hugely beneficial in the long-run for everyone. Here’s some ideas on ways you can help your employees and show you’re there to support them…

  • Take opportunities to discuss mental health and well-being with your workforce to create an open dialogue, meaning employees may be more likely to approach a Manager/Colleague if they are struggling to cope
  • Come up with a mental health action plan. Think about what you’d do if someone in your team is struggling. If possible, involve your teams in deciding what the action plan should be, whether it be a ‘calm zone’ in the office, or a counselling service they can use – let them know that you’d offer them support if they needed it
  • Bring the discussion into your workplace, talk about mental health first aid with your teams and together find ways to harness positivity and respect for one another, as this can be massively mood-boosting. The smallest of kind gestures or compliments can make the biggest of differences to someone who is suffering.

For us and our clients, we want to ensure that employees are valued, supported and understand that their issues are taken seriously. This is something we champion here in our small team at Horizon, where we have a very open, communicative, supportive environment and regular discussions about mental health. We also encourage our clients to do the same, and have many brilliant clients who go the extra mile in ensuring the wellbeing of their individual employees. If you’re an employer and you’re worried you might not be offering the level of support you should be, then is a great place to start.

If you want to find out more about mental health in the workplace here are some great resources to try: