Supporting mental health in the workplace is crucial for employers for a number of reasons. As I have explored in my previous blogs (mental health and workplace performance, mental health awareness in the workplace) mental health has a huge impact on productivity and overall staff wellbeing, and employers have a duty of care to ensure that they make reasonable adjustments for mental health issues, even if employees haven’t openly declared they have a problem.
So, in this blog, which will be my last on mental health in the workplace, we will explore the range of measures that employers should have in place to ensure that they are doing all they can to support their valued employees. This should include both onsite and offsite support for employees.
Create a culture that supports staff to be open about their mental health
Too often, employees are scared to broach the issue of mental health at work as they worry about the implications. Perhaps they could be perceived as unable to complete simple tasks or their manager may see them as not being competent. Employers need to make it clear that mental health is an essential keystone in their business and by being open about it, staff will receive whatever support is required funded by their caring employer.
This messaging needs to be backed up with clear policies, training and strategies in place so that staff feel they have a voice, and they will get the support they need. Line managers need to be trained in how to provide support and how to manage employees returning to work after a period of absence due to mental health issues.
Senior managers should also have specific objectives for mental health which can be linked to their overall performance to ensure they are committed to creating the right culture and providing adequate support.
Other measures to help develop a culture where staff feel confident discussing mental health include staff forums, mental health champions, questionnaires, regular one-to-ones as well as ongoing reviews of current policies
Strategies to support employees with their mental health
To support their employees, employers should also put in place a variety of measures for people to open a dialogue about their mental health and find the support that they need quickly and easily.
As well as training line managers, employers need to give their staff mental health training, which should be regularly updated. Staff should be able to engage in mental health workshops or forums so that everyone is involved in increasing the awareness of mental health.
Finally, employers need to offer different levels of support so whatever an employee is struggling with, they feel that there is appropriate support available. This could be mental health first aid boxes or regular meetings to evaluate what is working or what is needed.
There should be an option for employees to see a mental health professional on site, where staff can drop in and get support. There should also be the option for a free referral to a dedicated offsite professionally trained and licensed registered mental health professional, as they may feel uncomfortable about accessing onsite support.
If you are struggling with any issues around the workplace and want a safe, confidential space to talk them through, I am here to offer personalised counselling in Epsom, Surrey, and online. Please do get in touch at any time. As I always say to my valued clients it all starts with a conversation.