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How to Support Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health has never been as big a concern as in 2020. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic back in March, the UK has seen a worrying increase in reports of anxiety and depression. With nearly half the UK population admitting to feeling anxious at some point during the past two weeks alone. 

With that in mind, it is more important than ever that we continue to support mental health in the workplace. Especially as, closely following the pandemic, work continues to be a leading cause of anxiety with 52% of employees feeling anxious at work – due to either increased pressure, an unmanageable workload or lack of support.

So, how should we be helping our employees or colleagues feel more supported? What steps do we need to take to bring that percentage of anxiety in the workplace down? Let’s take a look:


  • Encourage openness and honest discussion
    The healthiest working environment is one where employees feel able to be their authentic and complete self – the good as well as the bad! Colleagues working in this kind of environment are less likely to feel anxious or stressed, as they know they can confidently air any concerns or worries they might have.By offering this kind of honest and open culture, not only will your colleagues feel supported but they’ll also feel able to confide in you when they are struggling.


  • Management needs to include wellbeing
    A good manager not only needs to think about achieving goals and targets, but also about the mental health of their team. Afterall, the two are closely connected; if employees aren’t feeling their best, then they won’t be able to perform at their best. Caring about your employees wellbeing is not just a box to be ticked, it is essential to running a successful and profitable business. Arrange regular one-to-one catch ups between managers and team members where employees feel they’re welcome to be honest and open about their mental health. The HSE have put together a great Talking Toolkit to help guide the conversation between line manager and employee.


  • Be aware of workloads
    Feeling overloaded with work is the leading causes of stress in the workplace, with 1 in 4 employees working over 50 hours a week in order to finish what is expected of them. This can lead to a poor work-life balance, not allowing enough down time for employees to recharge and subsequently not perform at their best when at work.


  • Remove the stigma around mental health
    Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of stigma attached to mental health in the workplace. The majority of employees do not feel comfortable disclosing any mental health struggles, and fear they may in fact be penalised or treated differently after admitting to their struggles. This can lead to employees covering up their struggles with other excuses – making mental health issues notoriously difficult to spot. The best way to remove the stigma is to bring mental health into regular conversations and communications. From internal employee newsletters and comms, to one-on-one meetings, yearly reviews – the list is exhaustive. The more places you can encourage the discussion, the better!


  • Mental health first aid
    Do you have a first aider in your workplace? Of course you do! But what about a mental health first aider? By appointing a mental health first aider in your business, your employees will have a clear understanding of exactly who can support them when they’re struggling. Opening up this confidential line of support can make a world of difference. Find out more at MHFA England.


We hope this has given you a great starting point to improve the conversation around mental health in your workplace, and to create a working environment which is judgement free, honest and open.

For further reading and resources, we recommend the Mental Health at Work website – curated by MIND and the Royal Foundation.

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