10 May Top Tips for Managing Mental Health at Work
The most common question we are faced with when working with organisations is ‘how can we better manage mental health at work?’. Time and time again our staff survey reveals that employees would not feel comfortable discussing mental health issues with management, but we can help you change that! Below we have outlined five key tips for managing mental health at work and creating a mentally healthy work environment.
Create a culture of openness and awareness
There’s no better place to start than by laying the foundations; create a mental wellbeing policy (or ever better, strategy), take action and subsequently change the culture. A mental wellbeing policy outlines what the organisation will do to support employees who may be experiencing difficulties, and could outline the difference between more formal support channels such as Occupational Health and informal/self-help networks. Having a policy reassures employees that their company cares about their wellbeing!
It’s no good having a policy and accessible support if staff are not aware of it! Publicise this on your intranet, employee handbook and newsletters. Introduce discussion about mental health at staff meetings and supervisions and use this as an opportunity to check in on how they are feeling. Conduct regular staff surveys to track trends and monitor progress but most importantly keep in touch with staff so that they don’t disengage from the workplace or the support available to them!
Busting the stigma
This is an important one (and will come with following the other four points in this post!), provide information to employees to reduce the stigma around mental health. The more we talk about it, the more stigmas get broken down – we can all play a part in making the workplace a better place to be! Use staff newsletters, posters in communal areas and other comms to raise awareness of mental health, not just on Mental Health Awareness Week but throughout the year.
If employees know that the workplace cares about their mental health then they may feel more comfortable in coming forward to discuss any problems they are experiencing, both at work and at home. One of the key ways to do this is to train up management so they are clued up in mental health matters, can spot the signs and behaviour changes and know how to approach the subject and signpost to support. We recommend Mental Health First Aid for all managers, and we can deliver the course ourselves!
Make small changes
You’ve heard of random acts of kindness right? Well these small actions can make a huge impact! Encourage staff to take regular breaks away from their desk, introduce a ‘power down’ hour, socialise with colleagues (after all a happy team benefits everyone!), learn new skills, encourage mindfulness and exercise regularly.
With Mental Health Awareness Week just around the corner, give these a try and let us know how you get on. Better still, get in touch to see how we can support you to create a workplace health strategy which encompasses not only mental health but physical activity, healthy eating, smoking habits as well as addressing the culture and leadership of your organisation!