Mental Health awareness in the workplace

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As part of Mental Health awareness week, Mark Littlejohns and Chloe Peachey of Capital’s Safety, Health, Environment & Fire team, look at the importance of mental health in the workplace and how employers can promote good mental health.

Importance of good mental health in the workplace:

  • Workplaces that prioritise mental health through a positive and supportive work environment help to create good health and safety culture. It is important that safety culture considers mental health alongside physical health, which can be achieved when employees feel valued, respected, and supported.
  • Poor mental health can directly impact productivity and performance of employees. Feelings of stress, depression and anxiety impact an employee’s ability to do their job. Additionally, a negative work environment can increase or create elements of poor mental health.
  • Supporting the mental health of employees helps to reduce the rate of absenteeism and increase the rate presenteeism if employees feel as though their workplace is a safe space.
  • Supporting good mental health in the workplace helps employers to uphold their legal and ethical responsibilities. Creating a safe space by addressing mental health concerns helps to avoid discrimination claims and breaches of health and safety regulations alongside other legal liabilities.

Employers can promote good mental health by:

  • Educating employees and spreading awareness through encouraging discussions to destigmatise mental health. Whether through official training or fun mindfulness workshops/activities to encourage openness.
  • Providing access to counselling services or raising awareness of free helplines displayed on workplace platforms.
  • Implementing official mental health policies and procedures for employees to refer to.
  • Being open to the diverse needs of employees by offering flexible working arrangements such as compressed work weeks and flexible working hours to help employees manage external
    stresses that may be negatively impacting their ability to do their job and their mental wellbeing.
  • Training managers and supervisors to appropriately deal with leading those who are suffering from mental health problems, equipping those in positions of authority with the skills and resources to appropriately support their team.
  • Appointing trained mental health first aiders as designated people in the workplace to seek help from. Those working within the vicinity of people struggling with their mental health can recognise the symptoms of common issues to help those struggling to be heard and aid with early intervention.

If your company requires guidance or assistance on health & safety within the workplace, please get in touch with our team of expert health & safety consultants.