With one in four UK residents being affected by mental health issues, it is vital that employers understand the impact that this can have in the workplace. Far more people are having positive, open and healthy discussions about mental health than they used to, but there still remains a long way to go with many more barriers to overcome. We have provided some information and guidance below to help you make sure that your organisation is on the tide of change and set the example for others to follow.
How to help
Noticing the signs
Understanding the stigma
- An employee having issues with their mental health will often display clear signs of their struggle which could be physical, behavioural or psychological.
- Sometimes it can be as simple as paying attention to what an employee talks about, whether that be relationships, family, finances, or a ‘hectic’ or ‘isolated’ home life.
- 30% of employees feel that they would not be comfortable approaching their line manager for help with poor mental health and stress.
- The ‘stigma’ around discussing mental health still prevails. Employees may feel like they shouldn’t feel the way that they do and will be judged if they share their experiences with colleagues or management.
- Employees are more likely to hide their feelings if they feel expected to be ‘ok’ and that the company requires them to deal with problems in their own time, leaving any issues at the door. These employees are far more fearful of losing their job than of seeking help.
- Remind the employee that they have access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) either by phone or online.
- Offer support by creating ‘Mental Health Champions’ roles in the workplace and develop flexible working conditions where available/appropriate.
- Listen and offer assistance where appropriate, be that emotional support or practical advice. If you feel you can’t offer this support to your employee directly, don’t forget that the EAP service offers assistance to managers too.
- Labelling can worsen the stigma of mental health issues. Take a positive approach and focus on offering relevant support in the workplace and avoid trying to “self-diagnose” the issue, that’s what the experts for.
- For further assistance download the Health Assured 5 step managers guide for supporting mental health in the workplace.