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15 posts
Apr 06, 2022
4:59 PM

.Employee Mental Health Programs Schemes.

The key to psychological safety between employees is to foster as much honesty and understanding as possible. Consider offering informational sessions around identifying and addressing common mental health disorders. Employees may relate—or recognize peers who need support. Awareness is the first step toward a more inclusive employee culture. Regardless of whether an employee has a diagnosable mental illness or is just having an off day, your company shouldn’t shy away from offering help. Mental health-friendly workplace are those that value the health of their employees, including their mental health and well-being, and have specific practices and policies in place. Specific policies and practices can include valuing diversity, treating mental illness with the same urgency as physical illness, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and providing training for managers and supervisors on mental health issues in the workplace. Experiences of mental health are so different from person to person, but it affects us all and it’s impacted by many different aspects of our lives, including work. So how can workplaces help? Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around workplace wellbeing support in your organisation.

On-site Mental Health Support

Normalizing topics around employee mental health in the workplace, and being able to identify and assess burnout risk, make it easier for employees to get the organizational support they need before reaching a crisis point. Not suggesting an improvement or alternative to a process may be because an employee is afraid of speaking out. Because of the variance in the sources of stress across workplaces, more bespoke solutions are also needed. When offered generalist counseling services and outside providers, employees may feel that their individual experience is misunderstood. Peer support and group exchanges can be useful within a supportive organizational culture that alleviates the stigma of revealing one’s struggle. There is a large annual cost to employers from mental ill health of between £33 billion and £42 billion3 (with over half of the cost coming from presenteeism – when individuals are less productive due to poor mental health in work) with additional costs from sickness absence and staff turnover. Encourage employees to regularly get some headspace (like a short walk around the block, or it could be as simple as stepping away from their desk to make a cuppa). Discussing ideas such as managing employees with mental health issues is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.

Changing a workplace culture, even if just the micro-culture within one team or department, takes time. Those organisations that are starting to see mental health as a priority recognise that it is important for recruiting and retaining the talent of the future, and that good mental health and wellbeing is linked to strong performance. A stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper, and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. It can also contribute to health conditions such as depression, obesity, and heart disease. Organising charity events at work generates a feeling of belonging within your team. The act of generosity is associated with enhancing community identity and promoting wellness across the workplace. Volunteering provides a way for individuals to express their values, strengthening social relationships within the office. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Investors in People have developed a stress management 'competency indicator' framework of tools to allow managers to assess whether they currently have the behaviours identified as effective for preventing and reducing stress at work. Communication that emphasizes that leadership cares about concepts such as workplace wellbeing ideas should be welcomed in the working environment.

Honest, Open Communications

A safe and inclusive workplace is key when an employee returns to work after a mental health-related absence. It’s important for employees and managers to recognize that they need to treat and manage employees with mental health conditions like any other health condition. Support and understanding are critical for ensuring a successful return to work for these employees. Before building a mental health strategy, it’s important to understand some of the foundational elements. Culture is the bedrock of any workplace mental health strategy. It sets the tone for your organization. Without a supportive culture your efforts are likely to fall short of making a real impact. A lot of workplace wellness tips focus on the importance of physical health, but employees should know that mental health is just as important! Between long hours, built-up stress, and a heavy workload, being a full-time employee can take its toll on your mental wellbeing. In fact, one in four Americans identified work as being a source of anxiety. Not making a decision may be because an employee is afraid of speaking out. Because poor mental health is likely to be a ‘hidden’ disability and many people are reluctant to disclose a condition, it is good practice for an employer to make adjustments for someone experiencing poor mental health even if they do not necessarily consider they have a disability under the Equality Act. Similarly to any change that happens within organizations, discussions around how to manage an employee with anxiety need planning and implementing properly.

Aside from considering the financial investment in mental health at work, we also need to look at how we can give ourselves permission as individuals to invest our time and energy in self-care modalities. The most important thing employees need from leadership is genuine empathy and kindness. Take it from one employee who alerted her team that she would be taking a mental health day. The CEO responded with a personal thanks for “help[ing] cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.” His response quickly went viral and clearly struck a chord. Being kind and supportive doesn’t cost anything—and it can go a long way. There can be times when additional support is needed for employees and managers alike. Balancing the pressures of work with the needs of home and personal life can be at times, stressful. Problems with workload, support, or relationships with colleagues can worsen mental health and your employer has a duty to intervene. They may be able to review your work commitments or specific issues, but they can only do this if you let them know. Typically, when it comes to mental health problems, reasonable adjustments are small, inexpensive changes, such as more regular catch-ups with managers, a change of workspace, working hours, or breaks. If someone struggled with anxiety as a result of commuting in peak times, a reasonable adjustment could be that they start and finish work earlier or later, to avoid rush hour. Even though it may not be easy to become an employee-centric company addressing employers duty of care mental health it is of utmost importance in this day and age.

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