How Dominant Are Workplace Mental Health Initiatives Nowadays?


What exactly is one truly second to none element about the best Workplace Mental Health Initiatives organisations that ensures they eclipse the competition?

Risks to mental health can arise out of the nature of work. This includes customer related stress, remote work, shift work and exposure to traumatic events. Risks can also arise out of the context of work including poor team climate and poor quality people management practices such as lack of role clarity, poorly managed change, a breakdown in relationships and high work pressure and demands. A certain level of pressure in a business environment is desirable. Pressure helps to motivate people and boosts their energy and productivity. But when the pressure someone is under becomes too much to cope with, that positive force turns negative and becomes stress. Workplace mental wellbeing is at a tipping point, a “magic moment when an idea, trend or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire”. The future working world will be a diverse one, and mental health support will have to evolve to support these different working practices. It’s not enough for support to be purely in-person, for example, as many of us are more comfortable with the distance and relative anonymity of remote communication. Supporting a colleague who has a mental health problem is about helping them to find ways to recover, helping them to stay well, and ensuring that the workplace is a safe and pleasant place to be, free from discrimination. The majority of people want to discuss mental health at work.

Workplace Mental Health Initiatives

A lack of clear data around the impact of mental health on an organisation is a key challenge. Measuring workplace wellbeing and its impact on business performance is not easy. Due to the stigma associated with mental health, conditions and incidents tend to be under-reported and reasons for absence not given. Employees are much more productive and deliver far better results if they have a best friend at work. This is one of Gallup’s most compelling and controversial workplace findings. And it illustrates the importance of social wellbeing for thriving employees. Putting workplace support in place for mental health early to deal with any issues could prevent the problem escalating and having a larger impact on both the individual and the team. One of the easiest things you can do if you know someone to be struggling with mental health is to adjust their working patterns. This may involve offering flexible working, allowing for different start and finish times or allowing them to work from home if suitable. It could also include allowing them time off for appointments, spacing breaks differently or restructuring holiday time so it is spread more evenly throughout the year. Communication that emphasizes that leadership cares about concepts such as employers duty of care mental health should be welcomed in the working environment.

Build Your Confidence On Mental Health

Many employees feel uncomfortable opening up about their mental health. Others feel their worries are not serious enough for EAPs or speaking to professionals. Examples of peer-to-peer groups within businesses includes physical – such as grief counselling groups and special interest communities – and digital solutions. These can be beneficial in connecting those who want to better understand their emotions with people who have had shared experiences. If an employee is not mentally well enough to be at work, staying at work may be detrimental to their own health and recovery, as well as possibly impacting negatively on fellow employees. If this is the case, companies should be proactive in recognising that professional/clinical help is the best option, and to facilitate this before the employee and others are affected further. Don't underestimate the value of an impromptu check-in. For team members who you suspect may struggle, or who have diagnosed conditions, agree to commit to a clear risk assessment system. This helps quickly identify your feelings and potential stressors as well as healthy behaviours you can adopt when the going gets especially tough. Mental and emotional well-being strategies should be focused on providing resources to employees, building communities, serving up meaningful content and communicating effectively. EAPs and mental health apps with guided meditation and therapy can help employees cope with stress, anxiety or depression by providing coaching, exercises and education. Thinking about concepts such as managing employees with mental health issues is really helpful in a workplace environment.

We all have this asset of mental health that affects how we think, how we feel and, in the perspective of business, how it affects what we can do at work - so, how can we work with employees to improve and protect mental health in the workplace? Good mental health is vital to business performance, because when staff feel happy and well cared for, they are more engaged, more motivated and more loyal. Having open and honest discussions about mental health removes the stigma of what is usually a hidden issue. Managing mental health in the workplace is something managers and leaders should be trained for, so they can signs in employees who may be struggling, and create effective strategies for helping them. Mental wellbeing at work is not isolated from wellbeing at home and vice versa. Being healthy and happy in one can significantly improve wellbeing in the other. Since mental health is a wide socio-economic issue, it would be important to look to and make use of management structures. We shouldn’t lose sight of what happens with high-level policy - for example, zero hours contracts can put real stress on people and enforce anxiety. Similarly to any change that happens within organizations, discussions around workplace wellbeing support need planning and implementing properly.

Building Resilience

Many employers encourage an ethos that supports staff, by encouraging colleagues to look out for each other and by allowing work patterns to be flexible enough to account for individual needs. Mental ill health is typically caused by a range of factors, from relationship problems, financial worries or poor housing, to poor management and/or stress in the workplace. But whether the primary cause is 'home' or 'work'–related, a healthy working environment – and, in particular, managers who are skilled in spotting early signs of mental ill health and providing appropriate support – plays a critical role in keeping employees healthy and preventing full blown mental illness. With one in five U.S. adults experiencing mental health disorders in a given year, it’s important for organizations to understand how mental health impacts employees and the steps that can be taken to create a work environment that is supportive of mental health. Positive mental health allows people to work productively, cope with stress and realise their full potential. It contributes to improved staff morale, better individual and team performance, and job satisfaction. If you look after your employees’ mental wellbeing, then levels of engagement will rise and so will staff morale and loyalty, innovation, productivity and profits. Ignoring the mental health of your staff comes at a high price. And will only make problems worse. Discussing ideas such as how to manage an employee with anxiety is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.

Taking steps to encourage employees to disclose symptoms and concerns will enable managers to respond effectively to health concerns of staff under their care. This will not only help staff cope and stay well in work, but hopefully also reduce the time off needed - increasing productivity and improving staff moral. Make sure communication methods are seamless. Establish an ‘open-door policy’ to let your employees know you’re always available should they need to talk. Schedule regular one-to-ones to catch up with employees, check in on them and give them regular opportunities to talk about things on their mind. You’ve know how mental health is intimately connected with physical health and diversity. This means promoting mental health is inseparable from other efforts to create a good work environment. Employers need to think about using computer programs and websites to give extra help to their workers, so they can look after their mental health conditions. Everyone should be able to use these programs and websites when they need to. If employees are being given extra emotional rewards (with purposeful work) and non-monetary rewards (with perks like office dogs), it can be more difficult for them to assert clear boundaries around basic rights like reasonable hours and being treated decently. Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around workplace wellbeing ideas in your organisation.

Build A Culture Of Connection Through Check-ins

Early intervention is important for mental health issues. You can help by equipping all employees – but especially management and senior staff – with the knowledge to spot the signs that either they themselves or someone they know may be struggling, and to signpost them towards appropriate sources of support. Feeling emotionally drained or stressed at work is directly correlated to distractions in the work environment, lost productivity, and uncertainty about the future. But failing to manage this stress properly can result in total burnout or lead to serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety. And that’s only half the equation. These mental health issues can cause physical problems, like high blood pressure and chronic diseases. There couldn’t be a better time to campaign for employers being better informed about mental health in the workplace, and making sure anyone with a problem gets sensitive and helpful support. This isn’t only about helping individuals. It’s also about the economic benefits of having a mentally healthy and productive workforce. You can find more intel regarding Workplace Mental Health Initiatives in this World Health Organisation web page.

Related Articles:

Questions Concerning Mental Health In The Workplace
5 Arguments Why You Shouldn't Forget Mental Health At Work


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