The vast number of visitors on social media, particularly Twitter and Peanut, conversing about Employee Mental Health Initiatives continues to grow daily. Tell me your thoughts on Employee Mental Health Initiatives?Currently, there are a number of promising developments in the workplace mental wellbeing space which should enable employers to better support employees, as well as to prioritise, quantify and track employee mental health and wellbeing. Anonymous pulse surveys are useful tools for detecting brewing mental health issues before they emerge. Survey responses will help assess the organization’s overall mental health climate and may help to identify areas — specific functions or teams, for example — that require particular support. Some employers have understood that having a mental health condition is something that can and does get better. After all, if I had epilepsy, many employers would understand that the fits do stop and they can be triggered by stress. It’s just the same with having bipolar disorder: the best employers can see beyond a label or diagnosis to get the best from people. Now more than ever, employers should prioritize proactive and preventive workplace mental health training for leaders, managers, and individual contributors Workers may come to work even though they are unwell because they are concerned that if they disclose a mental health problem, they will face prejudice. Reduced productivity costs UK businesses up to £15 billion a year. Employees with different mental illnesses can benefit from varying treatment approaches. For example, there is evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can successfully treat people with depression. It can also be a cost-effective option.
Through the efforts of many advocates, organizations, researchers, and brave patients, we have gained an understanding of how to helpfully treat mental illness. Employers and unions developed flexible work policies (FWP) in part, to help workers achieve more sustainable work-life integration. Effective FWP might also improve workers’ mental health. FWP, such as telecommuting and flexible time off have been used for more than 30 years globally, and yet, there is little research on the relationship between FWP and mental health. 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. Paying attention to workplace mental health has never been more important. Similarly to any change that happens within organizations, discussions around workplace wellbeing ideas need planning and implementing properly.
Evidence-based Mental Health PromotionCreating good mental health wellbeing in the work place can include encouraging and role-model mindfulness, taking breaks away from work, eating away from desks, stretching. Create quiet spaces indoors and out. Also, pay attention to sick leave and annual leave – if someone’s off sick a lot, can you help? If someone’s not taking annual leave, encourage them to take a break. Once you’ve identified the main stressors in the workplace, make it a priority to address employee mental health in the workplace. If flexible hours or telecommuting will help people juggle work and life, get on it. If resources are an issue, staff up, contract out, add budget or shift gears to put some projects on hold. Effective leaders know the value of committing to their people and integrating health and safety and wellbeing into everyday business. Leaders need to give high priority to prevention, early intervention and embracing the health benefits of work. Senior leaders set the ‘tone at the top’ and tackle the challenges to a life in work for those with mental health conditions. Not defending the quality bar can be because an employee is scared of speaking out. One of the best ways to improve employee mental wellness is by helping employees talk openly about mental health. Identifying the issue and letting it be an acceptable topic of conversation – removing the taboo around acknowledging work-related stress - can create progress by itself, helping employees realize they aren’t alone. Discussing ideas such as how to manage an employee with anxiety is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.
Whereas once talking about mental health was considered taboo, conversations about mental wellbeing are now commonplace in the public and in the media, with high-profile celebrities and public figures openly discussing their mental health experiences. Encourage employees to regularly get some headspace (like a short walk around the block, or it could be as simple as stepping away from their desk to make a cuppa). The workplace can provide a mentally healthy environment that is supportive to all the workers. A wide range of interventions can promote mental health and prevent stress and help to develop resilience amongst employees as well. Really long-term effects can be achieved only with comprehensive health promotion and prevention strategies, developed and implemented in a coordinated effort by those responsible on all levels. We know that there are many people who face the challenges of mental ill health every day. It is important to remember there are also carers of these people who face many of the same challenges. Being a carer for someone living with a mental health issue has been found to be a long term commitment - more than six years for over half of respondents in one study. The caring role is mostly undertaken by older women and is one that affects their overall health and wellbeing. A nationwide employee survey found that what people want the most in the workplace are trainings and more easily accessible information about where to go or who to ask for mental health support. A more open culture about mental health at work is also important to employees, according to the survey. An opinion on employers duty of care mental health is undoubtebly to be had in every workplace in the country.
Use Mediation To Resolve Any ConflictDigital mental health services are growing in number and complexity. More services and supports are being delivered and commissioned online and the global pandemic has seen digital mental health services come more to the fore as both complements to and alternatives to face to face support. Regular staff surveys and other research are useful to build data about staff mental health, using findings to plan and deliver action and inform workplace policies. Small and medium organisations account for 99% of the businesses in the UK. But research shows that, when it comes to mental health, they often fall behind larger organisations. There does not appear to be any clear legal requirement on digital mental health providers in respect of their approach to risk escalation and responding to and managing crisis online. This is a gap in current legislation and regulation, and those using digital services are reliant on providers to voluntarily put policies and processes in place. Employers – especially line managers – need to take the first step by sending a signal that staff mental health is valued and that people can feel confident that disclosure will lead to support, not discrimination. Subjects such as workplace wellbeing support can be tackled by getting the appropriate support in place.
Putting workplace support in place for mental health early to deal with any issues could prevent the problem escalating and having a larger impact on both the individual and the team. You know the saying, a problem shared…If you aren’t coping, tell someone. Many of us tell others to ask for help, yet don’t do the same ourselves. Whether it’s an issue about workload or there’s something going on at home, ask for an adjustment or some flexibility in hours. All organisations, whatever their size, should be equipped with the awareness and tools to not only address but prevent mental ill-health caused or worsened by work and equipped to support individuals with a mental health condition to thrive from recruitment, and throughout the organisation. Employees should also be aware of how to get access to timely help to reduce sickness absence caused by mental ill health. Work-related stress, as defined by the WHO, is the response people may have when presented with demands and pressures that are not matched to their abilities, leading to an inability to cope, especially when employees feel they have little support from supervisors and little control over work processes. Around 264 million people globally, suffer from depression and from anxiety, and 450 million people experience mental or neurological disorders. A study in Korea found that 75 percent of those who attempted suicide, were living with more than one mental illness, and in Australia, the suicide rate amongst people with a mental illness is more than seven times higher than in the rest of the population. Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around managing employees with mental health issues in your organisation.
Build A Culture Of Connection Through Check-insMental well-being is the ability to cope with the day-to-day stresses of life, work productively, interact positively with others and realise our own potential. When we talk about well-being we are referring to mental well-being. Small businesses have the right attitude to mental health but don’t have the resources to implement comprehensive strategies - we need to penetrate them as soon as possible as the current reach is very limited, possibly, fewer than 10% of SMEs have a mental health strategy in their workplace. Many employers, when faced with the words ‘mental illness,’ react with fear and doubt. But it is important to recognize that people who have been diagnosed as having a mental illness can still have mental wellbeing. How is this possible? Mental illness and wellbeing are not mutually exclusive—someone with a diagnosed mental illness can still be high functioning with the right environmental and lifestyle conditions. One can uncover more insights regarding Employee Mental Health Initiatives on this World Health Organisation entry.