The theme of Workplace Mental Health Programs can be complex. Lets strive to simplify it.
High performance is mental strength in motion. When we don’t feel good, accessing the behavioral skills that foster creativity and resilience is challenging. Without these skills, we don’t have the psychological resources to perform well at our jobs. Wellbeing shaming often stems from a desire to maintain the company’s status quo or cultural narrative. And in some cases, trying to one-up others. And it’s infectious: when colleagues see others do it, they may think this is the way to “fit in”, so start replicating that behavior toward others. The workplace playground dynamic continues. The world of work is changing, and many employers find there is a need to restructure and make redundancies, or change staff working conditions or contracts. Any change process is a challenge for staff mental health. Employers should promote a culture of open dialogue and involve employees in decisions about how the team is run and how they do their job. Make sure employees understand their role in the bigger picture and make clear their contribution to the organisation’s vision and aims. The symptoms of poor mental health can be emotionally, mentally and physically debilitating and negatively impact work performance, resulting in lost income and contributing to absenteeism and presenteeism (poor performance while at work). Comorbid conditions including heart disease, obesity and diabetes can exacerbate these factors. Many employers know they are missing opportunities to intervene early when employees are struggling, as the stigma of disclosing a mental health condition is still a significant barrier to employees seeking support.
If people feel under too much stress at work and for too long, mental and physical illness may develop. Stress can affect people mentally in the form of anxiety and depression, and physically in the form of heart disease, back pain and alcohol and drug dependency. It’s OK to talk about mental health. Sometimes people think that mental health is a private issue that should not be raised or discussed. This is not true. As a manager, your role is to respond to the early warning signs by asking the individual if they are OK and offering support. The mismanagement of issues of diversity in the workplace can often lead to social exclusion and create a discriminatory work environment. Substantial research evidence demonstrates that discriminatory experiences have a significant negative impact on both mental and physical health outcomes. There’s a growing need to support mental health in the workplace. And with more and more resources, tools, advice and recommendations available, the opportunity is here. Even though it may not be easy to become an employee-centric company addressing employers duty of care mental health it is of utmost importance in this day and age.
Use Communication To Reduce Stigma
Your mental health strategy should align with your workplace’s mission, vision and values. It should have a clear link to short and long-term business goals. Consider having a key performance indicator (KPI) specific to employee mental health. This KPI should tie in to your company’s goals and strategies. Wellbeing measurement has been delivered by expert practitioners and HR teams dating back to the 1980s. Yet HR teams are now better equipped with the skills and technology required to engage, measure and identify areas to act on insights gathered at scale. We know that individuals with a mental health condition can find it harder to find employment, but there are 1.5 million individuals in the UK with a diagnosed long-term mental health condition in work and the rate of employment has increased. By implementing good quality mental health management across all levels of business, we will not only improve productivity but reduce the unacceptably high rates of mental ill health. Employment advisers can work alongside therapists, providing information, advice, and guidance to help people suffering from mild to moderate depression and anxiety to remain at or return to work, or gain new work. Communication that emphasizes that leadership cares about concepts such as how to manage an employee with anxiety should be welcomed in the working environment.
Wellbeing should be at the core of our thinking about work and the workplace for the future. Mental health in the workplace is top of mind for everyone these days. While a lot has changed about what we understand about mental health at work, and how widespread poor mental health is, it's worth taking a look at the basics. Fostering employee wellbeing is good for people and the organisation. Promoting wellbeing can help prevent stress and create positive working environments where individuals and organisations can thrive. Good health and wellbeing can be a core enabler of employee engagement and organisational performance. In any one year, over one in four people in the general population and one in six workers is likely to be suffering from a mental health condition. With over 31 million people in work in the UK, this is equivalent to over five million workers who could be suffering from a mental health condition each year. It is important to understand the mental health requirements within your business so you can set meaningful objectives. The size of your business, along with such factors as the type of industry you work in and the services you provide will all affect the approach you need to take. Similarly to any change that happens within organizations, discussions around workplace wellbeing support need planning and implementing properly.
It can be difficult for people to disclose information relating to their mental health, so make it easier by keeping an open mind and giving them space to talk it out. Once they establish trust, managers and teams can dream big together — not just about career goals and development but about life and overall purpose and wellbeing. Encouraging a good work/life balance, developing good communication, supporting flexible working practices, and promoting positive working relationships and social activities are also important. Successfully implementing a workplace mental health and wellbeing improvement strategy requires employers to take responsibility for creating a culture of awareness and support of employee mental health. When someone is struggling with their mental health or has a diagnosed mental health condition that can have “flare-ups” or consistent symptoms like other chronic physical illnesses, this can sometimes impact how we show up, how we feel about, and do, our work. An opinion on workplace wellbeing ideas is undoubtebly to be had in every workplace in the country.
The UK has a significant opportunity to become a global leader in improving the mental health of our population and Government has a vital role to play in encouraging and facilitating change. Government should consider doing more to make this simple for employers, through an online information platform and joining up existing support aimed at employees and employers. We shouldn’t look at those who experience mental ill-health as problems but as assets to business; employers should use their experience and knowledge to help others in the company. It can be tempting to invest everything in building self-esteem around work success. That often means that people with mental health problems give everything at work and are high achievers. It also creates a risk that when things go wrong, when mistakes are made, or when change is necessary, people may take it personally. Sometimes people find it easier to speak to people who are not their managers. Peer supporters would allow staff to support one another outside of the line management structure. This would allow someone the safe space to discuss any issues they are feeling about their mental health. Ideally employers should approach stress management proactively, focusing on prevention and early intervention, and not just responding when a problem becomes significant or when someone goes on sick leave. Discussing ideas such as managing employees with mental health issues is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.
Internationally, the impact of mental health awareness-raising initiatives in the workplace is already proving overwhelmingly positive. A 2017 Deloitte study evidenced approaches across Germany, Canada, Australia, France, Belgium and Sweden which are empowering employers to implement interventions. Try and make sure you maintain your friendships and family relationships even when work is intense – a work–life balance is important, and experts now believe that loneliness may be as bad for our health as smoking or obesity. Mental health is a very personal issue, so as an employer, it’s your responsibility to make sure employees know from the outset that anything they come forward with is completely confidential. It may even be beneficial to invest in reporting software that offers anonymity. One can uncover further insights appertaining to Workplace Mental Health Programs on this Health and Safety Executive article.