Mental health and anxiety affects everyone
Mental health is an important issue that affects everyone, including those in the workplace. As a manager or employee, it’s crucial to prioritise mental health and create a supportive work environment that encourages open communication about mental health.
Earlier this year, the Mental Health Foundation published research with the London School of Economics and Political Science, which put the cost of mental health problems to the UK economy at £117 billion annually.
This year’s #mentalhealthawarenessweek focus is on anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems we can all face at any time in our lives. One quarter of adults in the UK have reported that feeling anxious has stopped them from doing the things they want to do some or all of the time. Six in ten adults feel this way, at least some of the time. On a positive note, anxiety can be easier to manage. Source: Mental Health Foundation.
In this blog, we’ll share some strategies with you for supporting and promoting mental health and anxiety awareness in the workplace.
1. Promote mental health awareness
The first step in creating a supportive work environment is to promote mental health awareness. Educate yourself and your team on the various mental health issues that affect individuals, such as anxiety, depression, and stress.
Encourage open conversations about mental health and let your employees know that it’s okay to seek help when needed.
2. Create a supportive work environment
Creating a supportive work environment is crucial to promoting mental health awareness in the workplace. Offer resources such as an employee assistance program, counselling services, or host themed mental health days. Encourage employees to take breaks and prioritise their wellbeing. Make sure your team knows that mental health is a priority and that they are supported, and most importantly, communicate how they can voice their concerns within your organisation safely.
3. Provide mental health training
Mental health training can help employees better understand mental health issues and develop skills to support their colleagues who may be struggling. Offer training sessions on mental health awareness, stress management, and mental health first aid. These sessions can help employees recognise the signs of mental health issues and provide support to their colleagues.
4. Encourage open communication
Open communication is key to promoting mental health in the workplace. Encourage your team to speak up about their mental health concerns and create a safe, and well communication space for these sensitive conversations. If and when an employee share their struggles, make sure you:
- Listen actively
- Offer support
- Connect them with appropriate resources (we have provided some resource links at the end of this blog)
5. Lead by example
As a leader, it’s essential that you lead by example when it comes to prioritising your own mental health. Show your team that you value your mental health and encourage your employees to do the same. Share your experiences with mental health and talk about what strategies you deploy to manage your wellbeing – what’s working well and where there is room for improvement (if any).
In summary – you’ve got this!
With the cost of mental health problems in the UK economy at £117 billion annually, mental health is an essential part of overall wellbeing, and it’s crucial to prioritise it in the workplace environment.
- Get to know your employees better – carry out regular Employee Engagement and Pulse surveys to gain valuable insights and understand how your people are feeling
- Implement an anonymous reporting dialogue platform that enables staff to speak up securely on sensitive issues
- Use discussion boards or internal social channels to get staff connected, engaged and communicating
- Build up data and insights with case management reporting which should be part of regular reporting to executive management and stakeholders, all of whom have a direct responsibility in understanding and leading for positive organisational cultures
- Talk openly about anxiety and its side effects
- Share coping mechanisms
- Consider the expectation of your employees and consider the physical and psychological stresses these might cause
- Listen! This is the best metric for understanding how your people are coping and when to step in