In 2018, a survey by Mind of more than 44,000 participants found that half (48 per cent) of all people surveyed have experienced a mental health problem in their current job. This same research also found that only half of those who had experienced poor mental health had spoken to their employer about it, suggesting that as many as one in four UK workers are struggling in silence.
How can employers lead the way?
Thankfully, there are practical ways in which employers can help colleagues within the workplace. Increasing awareness and understanding is a key first step in a journey towards a culture of prevention.
Importantly running alongside this is the sense too that managers should not be fearful of broaching the subject. If the culture is to change in a workplace, managers need much more information and guidance on how to spot the signs of ill health than they currently appear to be receiving. This guidance needs to help them to initiate a conversation with a worker and the tools to continue the conversation in an appropriate way moving forward.
Consistent messaging is another key area that we see as being critical to supporting the change and is another fundamental element in terms of Mates in Mind’s approach. Changes in the way we work will only come about if we begin with changing the way we think and talk about mental health, through inclusive and consistent communication.
Because the nature of businesses can be geographically spread, operating with staff across diverse work setting and involving a mix of direct staff and contractors, this can require coordination. But there are a number of tools available to allow employers to join up the messaging.
Examples of ways in which we’ve seen businesses engage can include single site initiatives, such as curry and chat afternoons, stress awareness drop-in sessions, lunch ’n learns or walking groups amongst others; or company-wide campaigns, such as wellbeing roadshows, stand-downs or webinars. An important element to remember in undertaking any such initiatives is to get feedback and consider ways in which it can be improved and demonstrate ways in which the initiative can be seen as valuable.
It is clear that the impact of addressing mental health in the workplace cannot be underestimated and everyone has a part to play.
About Mates in Mind
Regardless of where your organisation is in its mental health journey, Mates in Mind can provide the insight to help organisations in improving how mental health is managed in the workplace, and this includes enabling individuals to understand how, when and where they can get support. We help organisations to approach this by supporting them to develop a clear plan of action which can include skills and awareness training, communication tools as well as advice and guidance.
To find out more about how Mates in Mind can support your organisation please contact a member of the team directly or visit our website:
• 020 3510 5018