World Mental Health Day 2017 covered the theme of mental health in the workplace, so there doesn’t seem to be a better suited time to talk about how your company can help employees manage their mental health.
While Twitter became filled with positive messages for those suffering with mental health problems, there was also a lot of advice for employers out there.
Considering that one in three sick notes are for mental health problems, it’s important to focus on how we can manage mental health in the workplace and support employees.
What can I do?
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to help employees manage their mental health – just as you are expected to help them manage their physical health with adequate time off and understanding.
Here are some of the ways you can help decrease stigma surrounding mental health in your workplace and make sure your employees know they’re supported.
Encourage colleagues to look out for one another
Often, the first person an employee talks to about their mental health isn’t going to be the boss. It’s far more likely that they’ll confide in a friend or colleague. This is why you should encourage your colleagues to look out for one another.
Someone you work with will have a mental health problem, but it’s tough to talk about at work. If you notice someone struggling, step in. pic.twitter.com/u904lYZczi
— Time to Change (@TimetoChange) October 10, 2017
Simply being genuinely interested in how someone is feeling and wanting to help is enough, grab a cup of tea with them and let them chat about what they need to – or offer just your company. Explain this to employees and encourage them to help each other.
Promote mental well-being
Along with encouraging employees to look out for one another, you should also take steps to actively promote mental well-being.
This may include raising awareness as a company with fundraisers and sponsorships, or it could be something as simple as chatting to your employees about mental health.
— WHO (@WHO) October 10, 2017
Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be helping those with mental health issues feel more supported and comfortable in their place of work.
Take active steps to stop stigma
While you may not be able to stop the stigma surrounding mental health all over the world, you can certainly do your bit to make sure it’s not present in the workplace.
Train your employees in the correct terms to use, and how to manage different situations. As employees learn about stigma and the repercussions of it to those with mental health issues, they’ll be likely to become much more aware of how they discuss the issue.
Remember the bigger picture
It might seem shallow, but thinking about the mental health of your employees in terms of the numbers can really help to put things in perspective.
The loss of productivity as a result of depression and anxiety is $1 trillion a year according to the World Health Organization, which is more than $130 for every person on the planet.
In the UK alone, £225 billion is contributed to the UK economy by those suffering with mental health problems.
— Mental Health Fdn (@mentalhealth) October 10, 2017
Taking away the stigma and creating a supportive network isn’t just making your employees more comfortable – it’s benefitting the economy too.
Follow in the steps of other businesses
If you’re failing to see how you can break new ground on mental health in the workplace, follow in the footsteps of the businesses who are at the forefront of changes.
Leading the way for accountants everywhere is PricewaterhouseCoopers, who promise they are “challenging damaging and outdated attitudes towards mental health which perpetuate stigma and stifle talent and productivity in the workplace.”
There’s no need to do the latest or most exciting thing in order to raise awareness, you just need to be able to show you’re willing to help your employees.
Are you in need of some advice on how to help employees who may struggle to manage their mental health? There are a number of organisations and charities who can help, including Time To Change, Mind and Mental Health At Work, which all provide resources on the topic.