5 Ways to Improve Mental Health Support in Your Workplace
It's extremely important to talk about mental health at work, but work is a place where mental health topics are sometimes brushed under the carpet.
Unfortunately, many employees often feel as though they might be judged, or their job might become at risk, if they open up about their struggles with mental health. However, it is in the best interest of both the employee and the business to break down the barriers and stigmas associated with mental health in the workplace.
Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity for businesses to raise awareness about the subject of mental health at work and educate themselves, and their employees, on how to better support wellbeing in the workplace.
There are many incentives for businesses to care for the mental wellbeing of their employees, in addition to minimising the struggles faced by employees when they're at work.
Mental health illnesses are a huge cost to businesses all over the world, but increased support for those suffering with them can significantly reduce this cost.
With many employees suffering with poor mental health and a lack of support from their workplace, we have some top tips on how to strive towards increased support for mental wellbeing in your workplace! How?
1. Encourage communication
We need to talk.
Too many people suffer in silence when it comes to their mental health, and this needs to change! The good news is that it’s considerably improving within many organisations, but is there more that you could be doing to support mental health in your workplace?
Encouraging communication between employees at all levels of the hierarchy within your business helps people to feel more comfortable to talk and seek help when they need.
Not receiving the right level of support, or acceptance, of mental health struggles at work can lead to increased stress for employees suffering with them. This can then lead to affects on their life outside of work, which in turn will reduce their motivation for coming to work!
Make it clear that employees have someone to confide in if they need - it's not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength and proactivity!
2. Mental Health Training
Having a supportive line manager can make the world of difference to an employee suffering with their mental health.
Mental health struggles aren't the same as feeling stressed or pressured at work, but many managers aren't equipped with the right level of knowledge or resources to provide sufficient wellbeing support to their people.
Mental health training, however, helps companies to sufficiently support the wellbeing of their staff and recognise when employees need that extra little bit of help.
Alongside increased communication in the workplace, mental health training helps employers to make productive steps towards improving the management and support of mental health in their workplace.
3. Promote a good work-life balance
High stress levels can increase the risk of developing illnesses such as anxiety and depression, or make them considerably worse for those already suffering with it.
With many everyday stresses originating in the workplace, there's a lot that your business can do to promote a wellbeing-focused and productive work environment, as we've previously discussed in our article on reducing stress in the workplace.
One such way of doing this is to allow your employees to work flexibly and achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Trusting your team to carry out their work when, and where, they choose - within reason - allows them to feel in control and appreciated, which helps to improve their sense of wellbeing at work.
A good work-life balance also allows those suffering with their mental health to have time to look after their wellbeing outside of work.
For example, being able to avoid traffic or attend a doctors appointment at a moments notice is great for supporting the mental wellbeing of your staff.
4. Allow employees to take a break
Small breaks throughout the working day are incredibly beneficial for preventing burnout, but not all employees feel able to take one. What are your policies on taking a break away from the desk? Do you encourage employees to take their lunch break?
Allowing your team the opportunity to shut off from the demands of their day for short bursts of time can help to keep their stress levels at bay and come back to their work feeling motivated and productive. It also allows your employees the chance to look after their own wellbeing and help them combat their mental health struggles.
Breakout areas within the office are a brilliant environment for promoting short breaks, even just to give your team somewhere to eat their lunch away from their desk!
5. Provide a change of scenery
Continuous work in the same environment can be detrimental to those suffering from mental health illnesses.
A change of environment, however, can do the world of good when it comes to caring for the wellbeing of your employees.
Holding team building events outside of the office and having team meetings in a new environment are both great ways of getting your employees out of the office! This can be as simple as holding a meeting outside during the summer months or conducting staff appraisals down the road at the local coffee shop.
When it comes to managing and supporting mental health at work, there are many significant changes that a business can make. The environment that your employees are working in has a direct impact on their wellbeing at work, so it's important to get it right.