If you think mental health and wellbeing aren’t important topics for businesses to consider, think again. An extensive study from the World Health Organisation (WHO) discovered that depression and anxiety costs the global economy an estimated US $1trillion in lost productivity every year.
Workplaces that promote mental health awareness, provide a positive workplace environment, and support people with mental disorders tend to see increased employee satisfaction (and thus, retention), reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and, in turn, profitability. With that in mind, here’s four practical steps you can take to support better mental health and wellbeing in your workplace:
Create an open, supportive environment
If staff feel they can talk openly about things like stress or mental health at work, problems are less likely to build up. There are a number of things you can do to foster a more open, honest environment in your workplace. These include:
Treating mental and physical health with equal importance – both in attitude, communications and company policy
Ensuring managers hold regular, one-to-one meetings with their teams and encourage them to share any problems or concerns they might have
Supporting volunteers within your business to get the training required to offer peer-to-peer support
Providing opportunities for employees to give anonymous feedback about the steps you’re taking to improve
Simply asking if there is anything more you can do to help
Share information and resources
One of the simplest improvements you can make is providing reliable information about the places that people can go to find advice or support for mental health concerns. Start with the mental health resource centre on the NHS website – They offer a range of tools and advice including self-assessment quizzes and access to NHS psychological therapies service. You should also provide contact details for local and national helplines, centres and support groups. Hub of Hope has a free search tool you can use to find local mental health charities.
Depending on your budget, you might also consider offering resources for employees like:
According to a survey from the Office for National Statistics, around one in six adults in England (17%) suffer from a common mental health disorder. These disorders include anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It’s important to check in with employees and colleagues to make sure they aren’t feeling isolated or overwhelmed – especially now so many of us are working remotely. Arrange regular meetings (or video calls) with your team and spend time talking to individuals too.
Sometimes people are afraid to speak up if they’re struggling at home or finding particular projects too stressful. Be sure to act if you’ve noticed someone behaving differently – maybe they’ve gone quiet on the group chat, have started being late or absent more than usual, or just seem low. Whatever the reason, if you have concerns then don’t shrug them off. Seek that person out for a chat and make it clear that they can trust you to listen without judgement.