Mental health policies: Why your organisation needs one

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Health Assured team

27 August 2019

According to the HSE, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.

Whether work is causing the problem or aggravating existing mental health issues for your employees, having a mental health policy in place can help support your staff and create a happy, healthy working environment for them.

Mental health in the working environment

The silence surrounding psychological problems at work can be costly to your business. A study by Mind found that 30% of employees wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to their manager about feeling stressed, whilst 42% had considered handing in their notice because of stress.

21% of individuals stated they’d called in sick to avoid work during times of stress.

If left untreated, stress can manifest into other mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. That’s why it’s never been more important to listen to your staff and ensure your company has an employee-first focus to help with managing mental health in the workplace.

Not only will this improve staff wellbeing, but it’ll also contribute to reduced rates of absenteeism and improved productivity.

What is a mental health policy?

It’s a measure taken to define the overall vision of your company’s approach to mental health. This provides benchmarks for preventing and treating mental disorders, as well as promoting mental health.

The policy should apply to all members of staff and it’s your responsibility to communicate it to your teams and implement it across the company.

The policy must highlight what you as a business intend to do to acknowledge and support employees who are struggling. Examples of mental health policy elements include how you’ll aim to:

  • Treat mental health problems seriously.
  • Identify issues and work with the employee to resolve them.
  • Support all staff faced with mental health issues.
  • Maintain a healthy environment that staff feel comfortable, safe and happy to work in.

EAP’s & Mental Health


How it can help

A mental health policy establishes that your business sees these issues on the same level of importance as physical wellbeing.

Mental ill health can have a detrimental effect on productivity, collaboration and happiness. This spells bad news for your employees and business.

Having a policy in place can help to improve the following:

  • Absenteeism
  • Staff turnover.
  • Employee performance.
  • The number of work-related accidents.
  • Violence and harassment.
  • Substance abuse rates among employees.

Benefits of good mental health

Mental health and wellbeing policies also promote greater wellbeing at work. Having a happier, mentally healthy workforce has many benefits for employees and business owners. These include:

  • Increased productivity: Staff members with good mental health are likely to engage more with their work and collaborate more with their colleagues.
  • Higher retention rates: Happy employees who aren’t suffering with stress are less likely to leave your company to work elsewhere. Improving and supporting mental health means your staff will be happier and you’ll see retention rates soar. This can also help to improve your reputation as an employer when recruiting new staff.
  • Improved work-life balance: If your business promotes good mental health and encourages flexible working, your team will experience a better work-life balance, which in turn will lead to reduced absenteeism.

How to promote mental health and wellbeing

As well as having a mental health policy in place, there’s lots you can do to create a mentally healthy working environment.

Promoting awareness about the issue is a huge step towards ending the associated stigmas. To do this, you could do the following as part of your mental health policy:

Host mental health information sessions

These can help employees and managers to understand the various elements of mental health and provide insight on how to help anyone who might be suffering.

You could also invest in mental health first aid training courses so your staff are able to spot early signs of problems and help those who need support.

Provide helpful resources

Ensure your staff are signposted to relevant information sites and support literature. Many Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) also include access to online hubs which hold a wealth of wellbeing articles, infographics, videos and more, ensuring your employees know how to help themselves as well as being aware of how to help colleagues in need.

Encourage open communication

It’s important to actively support employees who are facing mental health problems, so why not hold regular support sessions that allow staff to open up an discuss any issues they have?

You should also encourage managers in your company to lead by example and openly discuss their issues and experiences. This will break down the stigma of mental health and allow employees to see that it’s okay to discuss such problems at work.

How can you support your employees mental health?

Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides guidance and supports your employees with their mental health. We can help you create a safe, productive workspace that supports all.

We support employees mental wellbeing with any problems they might be facing in their professional or personal lives with our 24-hour counselling helpline.

Want to find out more? Why not book a free consultation with one of our wellbeing consultants?

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