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Five Top Tips for Managing Mental Health in the Workplace

Published on 12 May 2022 | Modified on 11 September 2023

Written by Stacey Bennett

In recent years, we have seen an increase in awareness around mental health and wellbeing within the workplace. To be able to promote positive mental health with your business, you must first become aware of how such problems may arise.

Although every person who experiences a work-related mental health problem will feel and behave differently, common difficulties can include:

  • Low levels of engagement or lack of motivation
  • Decreased productivity
  • Struggling with tasks
  • Uncharacteristic behaviour
  • Change in appearance

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their work force, which accounts for both mental and physical health. It’s important that organisations put appropriate measures in place to address and manage such issues.

So what can employers do to help support the mental health of employees?

  1. The work environment you promote

It’s important to create an environment where employees feel able to talk openly about mental health. If you think about your work environment; Do you raise awareness of mental health in the workplace? Do you offer a supportive and open environment?

Employees need to feel confident that they could approach someone should they have any mental health issues or concerns. They need to be assured that they will not be judged and that their position within the organisation will not be compromised in any way.

  1. Understand your Employees

Can you honestly say that you could spot the signs of potential mental health issues on an individual basis?

It all starts with understanding your employees and team. Not only is it important to create a safe environment, you need to also take the time to get to know your employees and you’ll become more alert to shifts in mood or behaviour.

By creating a supportive and open work environment it encourages anyone who may be struggling to reach out to someone.  One way of doing this is by encouraging regular catch ups with all staff members or 1:1 in an informal environment.

  1. External support or guidance

Having external guidance from mental health professionals in a recognised organisation can be hugely beneficial. Not only will this boost your knowledge around mental health in the workplace, it will also provide employees with reassurance that you are taking their mental health and wellbeing seriously.

Employees often aren’t aware of all the ways they can get support. Organisations such as Mind are a fantastic source for information and support which both the employer and employee can utilise.

  1. Mental health first aid

It can be difficult to recognise the signs of mental health symptoms, especially as a lot of individuals try to avoid displaying signs at work.

It is useful to have a number of trained members of staff who are aware of the signs to look out for and the steps that should be taken to support individuals with potential mental health issues.

A mentor or a buddy scheme is a great way to ensure that your organisation has someone who can support staff as in some cases people will find it easier to speak to someone other than their manager.

  1. Wellbeing initiatives

Wellbeing initiatives are becoming increasingly common in organisations. Employee assistance programmes (EAP) have become widely recognised as being helpful tools in managing employee mental health.

You may consider appointing a person or committee within the team who can organise wellness events or activities such as mindfulness or physical activities which can be offered as a as a preventative measure to help encourage healthy mental and physical wellbeing of employees.

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