Mental Health Awareness in the workplace

Why is Mental Health Awareness important?

We all have a physical body that supports us on a day-to-day basis. At times we feel fit and healthy, but there are also times when we feel tired, drained and in need of some rest. Our minds work in exactly the same way. We all have mental health of varying degrees, as with our physical health. When we are feeling fit and healthy, we have a sense of purpose and feel as though we can take on any challenge put in our way. Circumstances in our life can affect this balance, causing us to experience periods where we don’t feel as mentally strong.

2020 was a year like no other. Every one of us has been impacted by Coronavirus in some way. Adjusting to life in lockdown, emerging from lockdown, and now contemplating life as we once knew it, will undoubtedly cause a range of emotions as we each try to negotiate 2021. This is especially so in the workplace, where many of us are either continuing to work from home or starting to make the transition from home office to the workplace.

Raising awareness of mental health issues and the potential for these to arise in the workplace is essential to creating an inclusive employee experience. A place where employees feel comfortable and supported. For your organisation, investing in mental health awareness and introducing mechanisms to address these issues will not only be beneficial to the overall workplace culture but it will improve efficiencies and save you money.

Mental Health Awareness training

At Cambridge Regional College we are offering a wide range of Mental Health Awareness courses, many of which are online and free of charge meaning that you can upskill your staff teams without losing working hours. These courses can you help safeguard your employees’ mental health and well-being during these difficult times, equipping them, and your management teams, with the knowledge to understand mental health.

Benefits of introducing a mental health strategy:

  • 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace
  • Women in full-time employment are twice as likely to experience mental health issues than men in full-time employment
  • 12.7% of all sickness days are attributed to mental health issues
  • Better mental health in the workplace can save up to 8 billion £ per year
  • An economic model comparing the cost of introducing employee care management suggested that the return in increased performance and motivation would increase revenue four-fold

Promoting wellbeing at work through risk assessment, advice, guidance, seminars and workshops costs approximately £80 per employee, per year. The increased revenue in a reduction in lost productivity and absenteeism would result in savings of up to 7 times the value.

*Data on mental health in the workplace from the Mental Health Foundation

Ways to support staff wellbeing?

Employee Assistance Programme

An Employee Assistance Programme provides a range of support services that staff can access when they have specific concerns in their personal life, such as a relationship breakdown, parenting issues, or financial concerns. If you don’t already have an EAP, this might be something worth considering and if you do have something in place ensure that you remind staff of this benefit as they may not be aware of it, or might have forgotten about it, or how to access it.  

Mental Health First Aiders

Internal Mental Health First Aiders are staff members that are trained to have a conversation with someone who is really struggling. Having trained staff in place enables you to refer any member of your team that is experiencing personal issues. This service is an effective way of supporting your staff teams, encouraging them to talk about issues that may be concerning them and your MHFA’s will make an informed decision as to whether professional help may be required.

Buddy system

Partnering up new staff members with a buddy, as part of your induction process, will mean they will always have someone they can turn to for advice or support. This could be someone from your HR team, that is not directly connected to the role or department that the new staff member is in.

Online support and Apps

There are a wide range of websites and applications that offer support for mental health and wellbeing. You could research some of the more recommended ones and share this information with your staff. Having these resources readily available will make your staff feel supported and valued.

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