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3 ways that companies can support the mental wellbeing of employees

Author: Sam Shinners
Wellness At Work Forward Role

Work can be stressful, more so for people suffering with mental health issues. In order to have a happy and productive workforce, it is vital that employers prioritise the wellbeing of their employees by raising awareness and promoting positive mental health in the workplace.

In the run up to World Mental Health Day, here are 3 ways that companies can support the mental wellbeing of employees:

Importance of culture

Make it clear that your employee’s mental health is taken as seriously as their physical health. If you can create a culture that is open and supportive then your team will feel able to seek out help if they need to. Ensure that your staff feel able to work in an environment where they can confidently do their jobs, feel important and purposeful, have access to training and resources when needed and receive great support from managers.

Encourage employee engagement by running healthy activities like office yoga and lunchtime walks and social events that promote wellness such as group challenges for charity, a team hike, a book club or even an office sports team! Not only are these things great for positive mental health, they are also a great way to get the team bonding – meaning an ultimately happier team!

Talk about it!

Start conversations about mental health, raise awareness of it and normalise it within the company culture. Managers should try to be approachable, have empathy and be great listeners - three important qualities when managing people. They should also be proactive in looking out for anyone within their team who may be experiencing mental health issues, as it is more likely that they will need to take the lead.

Mental health charity Mind explains that ‘The way managers behave and the relationship they have with staff are key factors in shaping how employees respond when they’re experiencing stress and poor mental health.’ Offer managers regular training opportunities so that they are able to confidentially support staff living with mental health problems.

Encourage work-life balance

A healthy work environment should promote a positive work-life balance for employees, in order to reduce stress and support mental health. Mind suggest that ‘flexible hours can provide a better work-life balance, greater control, a chance to avoid traffic, and the opportunity to attend medical appointments – all of which are important for those coping with mental illness'.

Ensure that staff are managing their workloads effectively and encourage them to take proper breaks. If it’s possible, create separate spaces so that staff can move away from their desks and give their minds some breathing space.

You can read our blog on What Flexibility in the Workplace Actually Means here: https://www.forwardrole.com/blog/2019/05/what-does-flexibility-in-the-workplace-actually-mean

Ultimately all businesses should have policies and systems in place that support employee mental health and they should be regarded with the same importance as physical health policies. Once these have been agreed at the highest level, communication is key and the support that is available from the company should be very visible to all employees. 

There are also lots of fantastic organisations who can support those experiencing mental health issues including the below;

Mind

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.

Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)

Website: www.mind.org.uk

Samaritans

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: www.samaritans.org.uk

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.

Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

Website: www.thecalmzone.net

Rethink Mental Illness

Support and advice for people living with mental illness.

Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm)

Website: www.rethink.org

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