What exactly do you know about Mental Health At Work Interventions? Well, optimistically after seeing this piece, you'll grasp a lot more.
A mental health friendly work environment is one where employees are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with customers, clients and the public. Did you know that poor mental health and work-related stress now accounts for over half of absences in the workplace? Last year, in the UK alone, 15.4 million working days were lost due to conditions associated with poor mental health and wellness. More people are taking “sick days” to work on mental well-being (versus taking days off to address physical illnesses or injuries), resulting in costs of up to $1 trillion in lost productivity for the global economy. Line managers have a crucial role to play in preventing and dealing with workplace stress. While employers increasingly expect line managers to look after people’s health and wellbeing, often employers don’t provide the necessary training and support. Managing stress effectively is a crucial part of a preventative approach to supporting mental health in the workplace, and organisations need to develop an organisational framework for managing the risks to people’s health from stress. This should include carrying out a stress risk assessment as required by law. The reality is that mental health is much more than just the absence of mental illness, and it’s much more than just a box checked on your employee benefits package. Consider topics around our physical health; if we encounter a brief illness or sustain an injury, we have the ability to do and try things that will heal us or make us feel better. Now look at that in the light of our mental wellness. Your organization’s mission statement must engender trust and integrity. These drivers will not only encourage workers to be motivated to perform well, if they know their employers are committed to supporting their mental health along with every other aspect of their wellbeing, this will instill a commitment to your organization.
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Alongside a fear of the perception of employers, employees also fear how their colleagues will see them. Employees want to feel like a valued member of the team, but by admitting to a mental health condition to employees, they may feel like they’re showing a sign of weakness. Those organisations that are starting to see mental health as a priority recognise that it is important for recruiting and retaining the talent of the future, and that good mental health and wellbeing is linked to strong performance. Some questions that employers can ask about their mental health approach include: Does your organisation prioritise learning and development among its staff? Does your organisation run an annual staff satisfaction survey? And if so, does it ask about mental wellbeing in the workplace? Often, the reasons for poor performance are not properly explored, even where a mental health issue is suspected, so the approach from managers or HR is only performance-based, when it should also recognise any health factors. This is sometimes driven by misunderstanding or prejudice, as poor mental health can be viewed as an ‘excuse’. Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around workplace wellbeing support in your organisation.
Having a better understanding of how perceptions, attitudes and behaviors vary within the workforce may help inform employers’ approach to communicating messages and implementing mental health programs and policies. Positive and open team cultures support mental wellbeing. When you’re open about the importance of mental health, employees take fewer days off with mental health symptoms and, if they are unwell, they stay off work like they should. Depression is a medical condition that often includes the symptoms of burnout (exhaustion, negativity and ineffectiveness), but can also include more general low self-esteem and, at its worst, suicidal ideation. Unlike burnout (which is caused primarily by work-related factors), depression can be triggered by life events, influenced by your genetics, or can sometimes happen for no reason at all. The link between an individual’s mental health and every other aspect of their wellbeing, from physical to financial, has long been discussed. Organizations are recognizing the very real impact wellbeing can have on health as well as workplace performance and productivity. As they do so, many employers are coming to understand the importance of addressing employees’ mental health alongside other aspects of wellbeing. Subjects such as how to manage an employee with anxiety can be tackled by getting the appropriate support in place.
Even in the most positive workplaces, a certain amount of stress is inevitable—but many employees just aren’t very successful at managing it. Instead, they become overwhelmed, unproductive, and anxious. When left unaddressed, this workplace stress can quickly lead to burnout and create health issues. Recognising when someone may be unwell and offering support and assistance can help employees to manage work demands. Early intervention may prevent the employee from becoming ill, taking long-term sick leave or from needing to submit a workers’ compensation claim. Early intervention also benefits the team as it helps to maintain optimum team cohesion and functioning. Designing break out areas and coworking spaces to inspire communication can further improve productivity levels in your office. These spaces encourage idea sharing and teamwork to promote positive work relationships. An open plan office keeps lines of communication open and supports information sharing between teams. Managing an employee with mental ill health may not always be easy. At times you may feel overwhelmed and experience feelings of resentment, frustration, anger, guilt, worry or fear. These reactions are normal. Mental health charity Mind regularly surveys staff across a range of employers for its annual Workplace Wellbeing Index. Its most recent survey found that of over 40,000 staff working across 114 organisations, 41% said their mental health had worsened during the pandemic, with fears about job security, redundancy, and the challenges of remote working all having an impact. Thinking about concepts such as workplace wellbeing ideas is really helpful in a workplace environment.
Some people are prepared to openly acknowledge their experience of mental ill health, whereas others fear that doing so might jeopardise their current job, or future job prospects, and therefore don't declare it. Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, they are under no obligation to tell an employer about a mental health condition, whether or not it is classed as a 'disability'. If you have an unrealistically heavy workload, admitting to yourself and appropriate others where possible that you can’t do it all is the first step towards getting the situation back under control. or complex. There is still a stigma associated with mental health problems, through a lack of understanding. Presenteeism is defined as showing up to work when one is ill, resulting in a loss of productivity and sometimes making an individual’s condition worse. Whilst the percentage of days off due to any type of illness is around 25% lower than a decade ago, various studies suggest that presenteeism is increasing year on year. In order to be fully prepared to support your staff, first make sure you’ve established a positive, thriving culture that puts employee wellbeing first (and nothing less). A culture that supports mental health will not only determine how comfortable an employee feels about opening up with you about their struggles – but could prevent them from ever suffering in the first place if the cause is work-related. An opinion on employers duty of care mental health is undoubtebly to be had in every workplace in the country.
Training in workplace mental health can take many forms: induction processes, staff handbook modules, specialist supervision, intranet hosted or even lunch and learns. Training can be internal but there are also a range of options for bringing in effective external support to deliver training to be better at understanding and responding to their own and others mental heath issues. Many business leaders assume an employee's mental health is none of their business. But the way employees think, feel, and behave impacts everything from productivity and communication to their ability to maintain safety in the workplace. Interventions and good practices that protect and promote mental health in the workplace include implementation and enforcement of health and safety policies and practices, including identification of distress, harmful use of psychoactive substances and illness and providing resources to manage them. Not suggesting an improvement or alternative to a process can be because an employee is scared of speaking out. How can you, as a business owner or manager of people, who is struggling with your own mental health challenges and stress, help your employees while also taking care of yourself? The same basic principles apply. First, acknowledge that you are struggling, that it is common and not something to be ashamed of. Second, seek help from resources in your company or through your health insurance plan or community. Mental health challenges don't often go away on their own and getting the right assistance can help you feel better faster. Organisations can make sure their employee benefits package provides support for managing employees with mental health issues today.
Many people spend more time in the workplace than at home. That’s why it’s essential to create a work environment that’s focused on the well-being of its people. As companies realize the link between their employees’ mental health and their performance, many have started to implement workplace wellness initiatives. It’s important to recognize mental and physical health are intertwined. Investing in physical health can be an effective aspect of a workplace mental health strategy. It may also be an easier place to start if mental health is a new topic for your workplace. Investing in lifestyle change programs and incentives can be an effective strategy for improving total wellbeing in the workplace. Creating mentally healthy workplaces delivers improved productivity, improves workforce participation and increases social inclusion. It is the core people management environment that is crucial here. Fostering more supportive, positive and engaging team environments increases resilience, enhances positive early intervention outcomes, and reduces the impact on individuals’ mental health. You can find additional insights relating to Mental Health At Work Interventions on this Health and Safety Executive article.