Mental health is a huge topic of conversation in modern day society, and rightly so with one in three people experiencing mental health issues whilst being in employment. Having a stigma around mental health means many people find it hard explaining to their co-workers and boss when they may be struggling with symptoms, and almost feel ashamed when they have to take a sick day.
There are many ways co-workers and employers can help to reduce the stigma and help sufferers feel more comfortable with their mental health issues in the workplace.
Flexible working options
Providing flexible working options for your staff will allow them the option of working from home if one day they aren’t feeling up to the office environment. Having this readily available will reduce the stress of having to ask for permission every time they feel they may need to work at home. Flexi working time will also mean employees are able to make personal appointments without it disrupting their working day.
Getting to know your staff on a more personal level and having regular one to one meetings will allow you to notice and pick up on signs when something may be wrong. Always encourage staff to come to you with any problems you may be able to help with, this way workers may feel more comfortable approaching you with these kinds of problems.
Mental health first aid training
There are now training courses readily available which focus on training employers and employees on how to spot signs of mental health and also how to offer initial help and guide the person towards support. The courses aim to provide a better understanding of mental health along with looking at your personal mental health.
Using a mental health toolkit for employers
The internet offers a range of mental health tool kits that employers can adopt. This one by wellbeing is in association with Public Health England and gives employers tips and steps to follow to support the mental health and wellbeing of your employees: https://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/sites/default/files/mental_health_toolkit_for_employers_-_small.pdf
Return to work meetings
If your employee has been off due to any sickness, not just mental health, it can be very beneficial for both parties to conduct a return to work meeting. This way you as an employer can offer support and guidance and your employee in return will feel supported and more at ease when coming back into work.
Being up front about mental health can reduce the time employees may need to take off work and also help reduce the stigma around something which affects so many of us. Mental health is just as important as physical health so offering support to employees and co-workers can make a massive difference to somebody’s working life.