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Employers can do more to engage leadership in dialogue with employees about mental health. Employers are increasingly identifying mental health conditions within their workforce. Historically, action to improve the management of and support for employees with poor mental health was often only taken by employers following an internal or external trigger such as an employee’s mental health incident. We need to understand and address the causes of mental health problems and ensure that working life both supports good mental health and addresses risk factors. By shifting the perception of mental health at work, and by making tackling it a clear business imperative, we can support the well-being of our employees and create a healthy culture where every person feels seen, safe and supported. Employee health and wellbeing is no longer viewed as fluff like Pilates, fruit or an added perk for an organisation. It’s now an essential component of a workforce strategy. Good mental health enables people to realize their potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities.
Regular supervisions or one-to-one meetings are crucial to build trust and give employees a chance to raise issues at an early stage. Providing mentoring or on-the-job coaching also helps to develop this relationship. The most important thing employees need from leadership is genuine empathy and kindness. Take it from one employee who alerted her team that she would be taking a mental health day. The CEO responded with a personal thanks for “help[ing] cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.” His response quickly went viral and clearly struck a chord. Being kind and supportive doesn’t cost anything—and it can go a long way. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 people will experience a common mental health problem each week, including depression and anxiety. 1 in 5 will have thought about taking their own life at some point, with 1 in 15 having made an attempt. There’s increasing scientific evidence that work itself can be beneficial for someone’s mental health, whereas unemployment or precarious employment can have a detrimental effect. Praising employees who work late and arrive early, or expecting them to work from home in the evenings hurts your company in the long run. Without a healthy work/life balance, productivity is likely to decline, and employees are more likely to burn out. An opinion on Wellbeing for HR is undoubtebly to be had in every workplace in the country.
- Make Time For Fun And Relaxation
Good relationships are based on openness, trust and respect. Regular conversations between managers and their team members can identify ways to enable an employee to be healthy, safe and productive—while maintaining confidentiality about personal health circumstances. This applies to people living with mental health conditions and those who are in a carer’s role. Actively encouraging your employees to take their full lunch break, finish on time and avoid checking their emails outside of their working hours will help build a balanced, people-first culture in which your team thrive. Talk therapy is a remedy for a reason. One of the most important steps you can take as an employer is to communicate with your staff at all levels, as people. Promote positive discussion around mental health and depression and let them know that it's okay to be not okay. The scale of poor mental health in the population is significant, but it is very often preventable and recovery is possible for many people. Some employers have understood that having a mental health condition is something that can and does get better. After all, if I had epilepsy, many employers would understand that the fits do stop and they can be triggered by stress. It’s just the same with having bipolar disorder: the best employers can see beyond a label or diagnosis to get the best from people. Discussing ideas such as managing employees with mental health issues is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.
With understanding, creativity, and support, companies can provide the best mental health programs for their employees. Along with creating healthy organisational practices, workplaces are perfectly positioned to provide health messages and opportunities to people. Usually the things that create good mental wellbeing are low or no cost. Supporting mental health at work is one of the smartest investments a company can make. When employees feel valued, they’ll be happier and more productive at work and lead more meaningful lives outside the office. The earlier a manager becomes aware that a team member is experiencing mental ill health, the sooner steps can be taken to prevent it becoming more serious and provide support to help them during this period. A range of public services are provided for people with mental health problems that could potentially support participation in employment but there are significant challenges with provision for this purpose. Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around workplace wellbeing ideas in your organisation.
- Creating A Mentally Healthy Workplace
Anyone can develop mental ill health at almost any time in their life, just as they can a physical illness. Mental ill health is no respecter of age, background or circumstances. It can be triggered by a range of things – including ostensibly happy events like getting married, having a baby, getting a new job or being promoted. One of the major stumbling blocks for many employees who are suffering from mental ill health is the stigma attached to admitting you are ill. It is an age-old problem and one that HR staff have to address. Work plays a strong role in our mental health and wellbeing. There is a Maori proverb that 'work brings health' and the Royal College of Psychiatrists claims that work is central to many people's happiness. Organisations should address the topic of mental health in team meetings and individual performance reviews. Regular one-to-one meetings are a chance to ask people how they’re doing, which helps to build trust and creates an opportunity to address any problems at an early stage. 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. Thinking about concepts such as workplace wellbeing support is really helpful in a workplace environment.
Many employers still feel uncertain about their responsibilities around protecting employees set out in the Equality Act 2010 and using health questionnaires during recruitment, as well as how to make suitable reasonable adjustments for employees experiencing a mental health problem. Nine out of 10 employers have expanded mental health benefits in the last year, but upward of three-quarters of the workforce believes their mental health is not well supported. Telehealth and digital solutions are on the rise, but out of more than 20,000 mental health apps in the marketplace, only 6 percent of app companies that claim to have an evidence-based framework have actually published said evidence. Mental heath training is important because it can help leaders better understand the links between job stress and health. They can also learn what they can do to support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Training should also focus on diversity and inclusivity. By including these topics, leaders will be better equipped to meet their employees ‘where they are.’ It will also help them to respond appropriately. Conversations around mental health usually aren’t one-off, check-the-box situations. Do be mindful of your own capacity to handle these conversations. If you think you can’t be there for a co-worker without it impacting your own mental health, don’t be afraid to refer them to other support options such as your HR team or Employee Assistance Program. Many UK businesses seem to be largely diminishing the importance of mental health in the workplace and instead a tick box culture has manifested in the place of genuine support. Similarly to any change that happens within organizations, discussions around employers duty of care mental health need planning and implementing properly.
- Lead By Example
Everyone’s experience of poor mental health is different, and how you deal with a disclosure should be entirely dependent on the individual. Employers should provide mental health tools and support and increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting. Currently, there are a number of promising developments in the workplace mental wellbeing space which should enable employers to better support employees, as well as to prioritise, quantify and track employee mental health and wellbeing. Discover supplementary facts regarding Mental Health In The Workplace Approaches at this Health and Safety Executive link.