Why Mental Health Matters At Work
Mental health week begins on the 10th of May. As a business, it’s important to acknowledge this week, raise awareness and support the wellbeing of your staff. Why? Well… supporting your team has so many benefits.
Having a team that is happy and supported means that you’re more likely to get the best out of your working environment. Happiness in the workplace is a large contributor to employee morale, quality of work and general well being and satisfaction. It bodes well to have a team that speaks highly of the company they work for, and this is significant in supporting mental health.
Mental health is just as significant as physical health, affecting one in four people. Quite often, negative mental health can manifest itself into physical ailments. Therefore, having a strategy to support your employees not only ensures the happiness, but also the success of your company. There are several ways in which you can create awareness and support mental health at work, here’s how:
The Symbol For Mental Health
Mental health was once a taboo. With no one speaking about it or raising awareness, those who suffered did so in silence. As the awareness of mental health has increased, so has its representation. The symbol for mental health awareness is a green ribbon, used to represent mental health and promote open discussion.
Green Ribbon Campaign
During mental health week, the Green Ribbon Campaign is a symbol for mental health awareness. The power of the green ribbon pin is the narrative it creates by destigmatising mental health battles. For each person, the reason for wearing it is different, personal and represents stories to be shared.
While workplaces may look a little different this year, it’s even more important to discuss work-related stress. Managing mental health at work is particularly significant due to the current circumstances. With the global pandemic, decreased movement and increased stagnation, mental health issues have arisen.
The statistics reporting on the waves of the pandemic have shown a rise in mental health issues. Those with preexisting mental health conditions were most at risk of feeling anxiety, stress or worry. As a result, adult mental health services have adapted to accommodate the rise in depression as a staggering 1 in 5 adults have experienced depression during the pandemic. Mental health is an ongoing challenge and the implementation of workplace care plans is significant in supporting your employees.
Implementing a Mental Health Programme
Assess Your Team’s Needs
Each working environment is different, from hours to physicality and deadlines. When it comes to assessing your business you should consider your employees and a mental health care plan that will suit them best. In assessing your team, consider flexibility to suit every employee.
Create a Care Plan
Work out a suitable budget and create a plan around this. Managing mental health at work can come in a variety of ways. From resources to guest speakers and team activities, you can cater to the means you have available. The main thing is that you should have a mental health care plan in place.
Dedicate Time to Wellness
Specifically dedicated time for wellness shows your commitment to employee wellbeing. If wellness is not planned into the working week, the chances are that it won’t happen. By incorporating this time into an employee’s schedule, you show how mental health matters are taken seriously.
Check-In With Your Employees
To ensure your employees are managing their mental health at work, it’s a good idea to have check-ins. Not only does that show an employers commitment and empathy, but it is also a good measure of the effectiveness of your initiative. This is specifically important when it comes to remote or online working, as it is an opportunity to touch base.
Adapt Where Necessary
By creating an initiative, you have shown your commitment to this. However, your initial plan may not be perfect the first time around. As changes in the workplace are inevitable, it’s a good idea to adapt your approach when it isn’t working. You can take inspiration from similar companies and campaign initiatives, as well as doing your own research to find what’s best.
Documentaries to Watch
We all know that mental health matters. So, it’s important to educate yourself around topics surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Using mental health documentaries to support your understanding is a great way to learn, understand and subsequently, be able to adapt your approach.
There are many networks and filmmakers who support the discussion around mental health.
The BBC has a dedicated list of Mental Health Films that cover issues of mental health, addiction, sexuality and identity.
Channel 4 debuted a new programme earlier this year, Losing It: Our Mental Health Emergency, exploring front line care in adult mental health services in Nottingham.
ITV covers mental health issues relating to social media, lockdown worries and the LGBTQ+ community.
Kingdom Of Us – covering men’s mental health issues. It explores the life of Paul Shanks and shows how mental health is not overt in all instances.
Kids in Crisis – a BBC documentary covering the stages of child and adolescent mental health services.
Me and My Mental Health – a Channel 5 documentary covering the intricacies of mental health issues. Including candid conversations with Iain Lee, Trisha Goddard and Adam Deacon.
Taking the time to watch mental health documentaries will support your approach to your employees and the creation of a successful plan. It also offers an opportunity for understanding that can support others who face mental health battles.
With your awareness of mental health week and why mental health matters, it’s time to implement this into your business plan. Start with the senior leadership team within your company and work down to ensure that there is an agreed-upon approach.
When it comes to resources, there are mental health charities such as Mind, the Mental Health Foundation, and more who offer free resources and advice on how to ensure your workplace mental health plan is effective.
Talk about mental health. Implement a plan and support your employees. It’s the best course of action.