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How to support mental health at work

The very best organisations recognise the fundamental importance of supporting the health and wellbeing of their employees. But right now, 1 in 6 employees are dealing with a mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression, which is preventing them from performing at their best. There are many inexpensive adjustments you can implement that will support people to manage their mental health effectively that allow them to thrive.

Recent research demonstrates businesses with high levels of employee engagement have increased productivity, and stronger staff commitment. High employee engagement cannot happen without good mental health. Some evidence shows when employee wellbeing is not supported, engagement reduces, performance levels drop off and staff turnover is increased.

Strong, visible leadership is central to how businesses support mental health at work. They set the cultural tone on how mental health is viewed throughout the entire workforce. Second to this are line managers who need to role model appropriate behaviours that send clear signals that mental health is valued and taken seriously. This will lead to an increased chance of disclosure, a reduction in stigma and discrimination and create a culture of openness around mental health.

Focus some time and effort on developing the skills of your line managers to help them deal with the day to day management of their teams. The way managers behave is crucial to whether the people they manage have a positive of negative experience at work. Good managers help employees to manage their workloads, provide opportunities for personal and professional growth, and give them a voice which collectively boosts morale, engagement, and mental wellbeing.

Businesses should also regularly promote any available support mechanisms. Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and the occupational health team (OH) can help tackle the causes of mental health problems.

Developing a culture of proactive wellbeing through addressing the causes of mental health problems, will create an environment where staff feel empowered and confident to discuss the ways their mental health can be supported in the workplace. The likelihood being more people will feel safe disclosing their mental health condition. How businesses react to the disclosure of a mental health condition and communicate with the employee afterwards is crucial to the successful management of mental health in the workplace. Open and honest communication needs to be present throughout the process, but it is important to initially be guided by the employee. People with mental health issues need to feel valued and treated with respect and dignity. If this shines through in the way you manage things, it is likely you will reap the benefits of employees returning to work with increased loyalty and effort.

The management of a mental health condition will differ from person to person. As such, it is important to provide line managers with the appropriate support tools and or training on how to manage each person’s unique circumstances. This may include the development of a wellness recovery action plan which details the distress triggers to look out for and the best way of managing a crisis.


Want to provide better mental health support to your entire workforce?

Pascal® is an innovative online mental health support platform that allows you and your employees to measure home and work pressure, ensures you comply with HSE regulations and employment law, and importantly, provide your employees with more support surrounding mental health.

Taking less than 10 minutes to complete, employees will receive a confidential report with recommendations and links to existing support pathways. Your company report then identifies hotspots and trends to focus your mental health strategy around.  Learn more about Pascal here.

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