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Managing Mental Health & Wellbeing in the workplace
19 May 2020
What is it and why does it matter?
Mental Health is something that each and every one of us has. It’s a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community¹. However, like our physical health, it can be impacted negatively so it’s important that we look after our minds, like we do our bodies.
Poor Mental Health is one of the biggest issues in the workplace today and can include everything from stress and anxiety, through to the more complex Mental Health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia.
As well as having an impact on individual employees and their families, poor Mental Health can also have a knock on effect on employers in a number of different ways, including;
- Greater sickness/absenteeism
- Low staff motivation
- Loss of productivity
- Increased staff turnover
Putting Mental Health on the agenda
Promoting good Mental Health within the workplace should be a priority for any business. However, given the current global situation, it’s important more than ever to ensure that employees and their mental wellbeing are fully supported.
Developing a comprehensive Health and Wellbeing policy will help Mental Health become part of everyday business. The policy (which will be supported at Board level) should detail your commitment to promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing within the workplace, how and when it will happen and what support employees can expect to receive.
Prevention is also key to your Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy. It’s recommended to carry out a Mental Health Risk Assessment across all staff which in turn, will help identify the areas of the business or job roles that are more likely to be vulnerable.
Provide needed support through training
Start with your managers
It’s your line managers that are likely to be faced with dealing with mental health issues on a day to day basis. Whilst they’re not expected to become experts in Mental Health conditions, you need to give them the confidence and training to be able to manage these situations on their own.
Training will help them to recognise early the signs and symptoms of a Mental Health condition that may be developing in an employee. Managers can be instrumental in helping to flag any problems and provide signposting to appropriate help and resources.
Create workplace champions
Not every employee feels comfortable talking to their manager about their state of mind or wellbeing. Why not choose a number of employees that can also be trained to recognise signs and symptoms, start conversations and provide signposting.
Develop everyone’s understanding
Although the understanding of mental health issues is improving, misconceptions, stigma and discrimination still remain. Raising the awareness of your employees towards Mental Health issues will help to develop a strong culture and overcome stigma towards Mental Health problems.
¹World Health Organisation - https://bit.ly/3bIts6v
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