Supporting Mental Health At Work: How Businesses Have Been Making A Difference

A young man that has an intense headache.

Those of us working a Monday to Friday forty-hour week spend 25% of our lives at work, so employers need to be proactive when it comes to mental health. We are often told to ‘leave personal issues at the door’ when we enter the office, but casting issues aside for eight hours per day is can be easier said than done in some cases.

An increasing number of people are talking about mental health compared to previous decades – but progress still has to be made if we want to create a truly mental health positive culture. Far too many workers are discouraged from talking about their issues due to the stigma that still surrounds mental health.

The importance of having someone to talk to

This can be someone in HR, or someone employed by the company specifically to discuss all things mental health. According to MIND, the mental health charity, more than one in five people (21 percent) have called in sick to work to avoid the stresses of the workplace, with 14 per cent resigning from their roles. Which is a large chunk of staff affecting business as a whole. Employees can feel safe in the fact that there is a neutral person within the business they can talk to about any

Making positive improvements

According to a 2019 survey, 71% of employees report that they feel confident in recognising the signs of poor mental health (a 7% increase from the previous year). 45% of employees believe that their organisation does well in supporting those with mental health issues, and although this has risen from 40% in 2016, that is still less than half of the workplace that actively feel supported in their roles.

Rising from 22% in 2016 to 30% is the number of line managers who have taken part in mental health training as part of their work, which reduced figure could have a knock-on effect on the other statistics.

Communication in the workplace

It’s easy to get into a habit of using emails to chat to people, especially if you work with computers all day, but it’s important to focus on having real life conversations too. Getting up out of your seat and chatting to the person who you were going to email a little note to will release the necessary endorphins to relieve stress and will actually be more efficient. Maplewave, a telco retail company in Canada, hosts weekly coffee sessions with leadership. During these sessions, leaders can share news and answer questions about projects or happenings. This is a great way to open up communication throughout the company and give people the opportunity to connect with leaders.

Overcoming obstacles

It’s important to focus on things that you can change, rather than dwelling on the things you can’t.  It’s inevitable that things will go stray from the track from time to time, accepting these obstacles and getting over them is how we learn and progress as humans. Heavy traffic causing you to be late for a meeting, an event falling flat, these are the things that builds stress in employees, and they’re frame of mind won’t be in a productive place. Shifting the focus from stressing your mind to focusing on the positive things you can change won’t only help you be more productive but will also leave you feeling calm and composed when it matters most.

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