How you can think smarter about your colleagues mental health

Keep your employees wellbeing well

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Mental health is often taken for granted, especially at work. The result? A staggering 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year.¹ And since the start of 2020, the pandemic has only made things worse.

In 2020/21 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health cases.²

Whether working from home, back in the office, or still figuring out a system that works best for your business, you can make a real difference when it comes to helping employees stay healthy, feel supported, and happy at work.

By learning how to spot signs of poor mental health, improve wellbeing within your team and support those with mental health problems.

Burning Issues

79% of UK workers report some stress-related absence in their organisation over the last year,  rising to 91% of organisations with more than 250 employees.³

‘Burning out’ sounds extreme, but the causes are recognisable in most workplaces; feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, cynical or detached from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness.

Left untreated, mental health issues at work can lead to more serious, long term conditions such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

Don’t stress. There’s plenty you can do. 

Take a deep breath. The good news is that openly discussing and taking on mental health problems is quickly becoming an accepted part of workplace interactions.

As well as checking in personally with your team, here are a few strategies to consider at work:

  • Start a culture of ‘openness’ about mental health, so your staff are more likely to express how they really feel, so you can take appropriate action and support.
  • Educate everyone with stress, and supporting mental health awareness campaigns, to help normalise these conditions.
  • Keep an eye out. Not in a creepy or invasive way. Just see how your employees are feeling. What’s the mood in the office? If workloads are getting hectic, can they be pared back or managed better?
  • Build in flexible working. As long as priorities are clearly communicated, discussing workloads often flows into wider conversations about mental health.
  • Encourage a culture of wellbeing. Try introducing mindfulness sessions, yoga or even board game events. All these can help to create a calmer, more considerate working environment.

Mental health first aiders 

Some organisations are actively bringing mental health conversations out into the open, by designating and training up volunteers to be mental health ‘first aiders’.

Like the physical first aid course, mental first aiders are trained to look out for the signs of mental health issues, how to support someone, and even how to create an action plan for the most common symptoms, such as anxiety and stress. 

Need help? Think Doctor Care Anywhere  

Considering your employee’s mental wellbeing is the first step towards a happier, more productive workplace.

If you do think one of your team would benefit from speaking in confidence to a professional, encourage them to book an appointment with a GP.

Our GPs and doctors are on hand 24/7 and can offer invaluable support and advice, helping your employees get back to feeling themselves. And helping your work force return to full force.

Source:

¹https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mental-health-workplace

²https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf

³https://empactis.com/stress-and-employers-stress-in-the-workplace

Last reviewed - April 2022

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