The health and welfare of your employees is crucially important, and you have a duty of care to ensure that you are providing ongoing support and assistance to your staff. You should ultimately be creating a mentally healthy workplace where individuals feel supported and valued.
World Mental Health Day (in conjunction with the World Federation for Mental Health) takes place on 10th October and the theme for 2017 is mental health in the workplace. The idea is to focus on workplace wellbeing and how to create a supportive environment, build awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
The importance of raising awareness
A recent YouGov and Business in the Community survey highlights the importance of raising awareness of mental health in the workplace.
YouGov surveyed over 3,000 people in work across the UK for the study, and found that three in five employees have experienced mental health issues because of work.
Yet, despite 53 per cent of people feeling comfortable talking about mental health at work, 15% of employees face dismissal, disciplinary action or demotion after disclosing a mental health issue at work.
The ‘Mental Health at Work’ report is drawn from the findings of the National Employee Mental Wellbeing Survey sponsored by Mercer and undertaken by YouGov. It is a three-year collaborative project supported by strategic partners The Institute of Leadership and Management, Mental Health at Work, Mental Health First Aid England, Mind and The Work Foundation, to transform workplace mental health.
The report also underlines some significant improvement in attitudes towards mental health in the workplace:
- 84 per cent of employers acknowledge that they have a responsibility towards their employees’ mental wellbeing
- 91 per cent of managers agree that what they do affects the wellbeing of their staff.
Promoting wellbeing at work
Promoting wellbeing at work is therefore a number one priority.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, explains: “Mind works with employers to help them create mentally healthy workplaces. Over the last few years, we’ve seen increasingly engaged employers prioritising mental health at work, and it’s in the best interests of everyone to do so.”
Here are some suggestions on how to support employees and improve workplace wellbeing:
- Create a positive working environment where staff feel able to talk openly about issues like stress and mental health
- Offer training in mental health to managers and ongoing support to employees
- Introduce flexible working hours to create a good work/life balance
- Set up Employee Assistance Programmes to support staff
The objective is to ensure that your employees feel valued and more engaged at work. It has also been proven that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive and increasingly successful.
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