For the majority of people, their career is a major part of our lives. It is where they spend a lot of their time, where they make an income and often where they make friends. Having a fulfilling job can be good for your mental health and general wellbeing.
We all go through moments when life gets the better of us – this can be work-related, such as deadlines or travel. Sometimes it’s something else – our health, our relationships, or our circumstances. It’s important that the work place can offer support during hard times.
Mental health issues can have a variety of symptoms and signs. Generally, you should seek help from your GP if you have difficult feelings that are:
- Stopping you from getting on with life.
- Having a big impact on the people you live or work with.
- Affecting your mood over several weeks.
- Causing you to have thoughts of suicide.
As an employer there is a duty and responsibility to look after, care for your employees and creating mentally healthy workplaces. There are 4 significant ways you can do this;
Prioritise mental health and wellbeing as main assets of your business
- Commit to creating an approach to mental health at work that looks after and improves mental health for everyone, whilst supporting those people who experience distress.
- Commit to reviewing the way you do business to ensure your everyday working culture is as mentally healthy as possible.
- Regular staff surveys and other research to build data about staff mental health, using findings to plan and deliver action and inform workplace policies.
Support the development of compassionate and effective line management relationships
- Create opportunities for managers to attend appropriate training to support staff living with mental health problems.
- Provide proactive support for staff line-managing people with mental health problems, including access to HR and, where necessary, occupational health services.
- Recognise that line managers who have personal lived experience of mental health problems are a unique asset to a company.
- Ensure that discrimination on the grounds of mental health status is seen as unacceptable as discrimination in relation to other protected traits such as race, gender or sexual orientation.
- Encourage staff to report any discrimination or harassment they face.
- Support national and local anti-stigma initiatives such as Mental Health Awareness Week.
Value the diversity and transferable skills that lived experience of mental health problems bring and support disclosure
- Include mental health in diversity and inclusion strategies, and recognise the mental health component of wider equality initiatives.
- Give people positive reasons to talk by establishing a workplace that values authenticity and openness – this should be led from management.
- Explore setting up peer support programmes for staff with lived experience of mental health problems.