How to Support Mental Health in the Workplace

Feb 2, 2020

Everybody’s talking about workplace mental health.  Or so it seems.

So, why are many employees still suffering in silence?

The campaign organisation Time to Change states that “one in four people experience a mental health issue in any given year”, while according to the Health and Safety Executive, mental health issues account for over half of all working days lost to ill health in the UK.

Worryingly, around 70% of sufferers do not seek treatment for mental health problems, including depression and severe anxiety.  Instead, many try to “keep calm and carry on” within the confines of their office walls, worried about what might happen if they were to speak out.  Could their job be on the line?  Will they be able to keep on paying the bills?

The Importance of Effective Workplace Support

Of course, not all mental health problems are about work.  However, the right organisational approach could mean the difference between an employee feeling supported and productive, or so stressed and upset that they have to take long-term sick leave.

It is therefore important that the right steps are taken to support your employees’ mental health.  A good starting point includes drafting a formal policy, so there is clarity about what level of support employees can expect, and how they can access it if needed.  Additionally, if your organisation offers wellbeing benefits, such as gym membership or flexible working arrangements, ensure your employees are properly informed about them.

Senior leaders will have a strong role to play in the promotion of mental health support throughout your organisation.  Leadership behaviour matters; it sets an organisation-wide example that other employees will follow, so ensure your leaders are aware of the benefits of taking care of themselves, as well as others.

Managers and leaders can also keep watch over working conditions that could pose mental health risks, such as unfair or overly large workloads being placed onto one person.  They should help to identify and address changes in employees’ behaviour, such as excessive tiredness, or unpredictable mood swings.

The Role of Employee Counselling

Effective counselling can form a hugely beneficial ‘next step’ in an established wellbeing programme, offering vital, objective support to those employees who need it the most.

Far from just ‘listening’ (although this is hugely important in itself), counselling is a proven stress-relieving strategy that offers a safe and confidential space for people to share their issues with a qualified therapist, so they can feel able to face life’s challenges in a more positive and proactive way.

All About People comprise a friendly team of experienced therapists who are qualified in diverse, specialised areas of mental health, so the most appropriate level of support can be both determined and provided.  Recently, we have joined forces with Next Steps Consulting, a dedicated and successful consultancy that specialises in organisational transformation and wellbeing.

Together, our values are simple and shared: we work knowledgeably alongside our clients, putting the needs of their organisation and employees first. To find out more about our tailored employee counselling services, please contact either Miriam Bannon at All About People on 01926 882521 or Gemma Carter-Morris at Next Steps Consulting on 0800 4880 851.

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