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World Mental Health Day - Some key ways to support your workforce

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As many of you may be aware, World Mental Health Day is on 10 October.

Even with the increased awareness of mental health over the past few years, it is important to ensure that this remains a prominent and consistent conversation throughout all workforces alike. While we may have all taken steps to ending the stigma around mental health by no means has this been completely removed. It is our hope that this article will help to empower employers to improve the wellbeing of individual employees, but also improve workforce morale as a whole and help ensure that your employees feel truly valued at work.

The cost of mental health issues to businesses was estimated in 2020-21 to be in the region of £53-£56 billion.  While many will be aware of their obligations in respect of mental health issues potentially amounting to a disability we have looked at some key considerations in terms of how best to support employees and perhaps prevent issues arising in the first place.

Here are a few key ways to support your workforce:

  • ‘Open door’ policy – look to encourage all employees to talk to colleagues and raise any concerns with management if required
  • Regular breaks – look to encourage employees to take regular breaks from their desks (e.g. one to two minutes) if they are feeling overwhelmed and to encourage employees to take their lunch break
  • Activities – encourage employees to undertake an activity away from their desk e.g. provide a weekly Sudoku for employees to complete, enquire about whether there are any fitness enthusiasts within the workplace that would be interested in running a weekly fitness class e.g. yoga or boxercise
  • Mentors – are there any senior employees within your organisation that would be interested in becoming mentors? This could be a consideration in trying to provide a consistent means of support to any employees who are interested in participating
  • Provide training for the topic of mental health and wellbeing – there are a multitude of webinars and training courses for employees to attend to allow for the provision of training on mental health and wellbeing, and encourage positive conversations about mental health within your own workforce
  • Mental health first aiders within the workplace – identify any mental health first aiders within the workplace and look to have this information circulated e.g. via a memo so that all employees are aware of these individuals;
    • Also consider whether there are any individuals who would be interested in undertaking Scotland's Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA) training to become a mental health first aiders
  • Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) – look to make all employees aware of any EAPs that you offer as their employer and encourage their utilisation if and when required
  • Mental Health Charities – if you do not currently offer any EAPs then you could look to simply make employees aware of any relevant mental health charities e.g. the Samaritans, MIND, SaMH
  • Encapsulate the above into a policy for your organisation to show that mental health is important to you as their employer.

If you are interested in reading further about mental health and stress in the workplace specifically, check out our dedicated blog on this subject matter. 

Our employment team have a vast experience of assisting employers with mental health queries and issues.  If you are interested in creating a policy on the above, want to discuss how to implement any of these ideas or need some bespoke advice about a specific situation please do not hesitate to get in touch!

Author Ruth Medlock Employment

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