How To Provide Effective Mental Health Support Mental health is never far from the headlines – and with good reason. Figures from the mental health charity, Mind, show that as many as one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year with anxiety, depression and PTSD among the most common.
Mental health doesn’t discriminate. Regardless of your gender, social status, sexual orientation and even money in the bank, mental health issues can affect anyone, anywhere at anytime. It is therefore vital that those who are suffering with their mental health are provided with adequate mental health support.
It’s estimated that there are over 200 different types of mental health conditions worldwide. Some disorders you will have heard of, for example anxiety. However, there are many disorders you may not be all that familiar with, for example, dissociative identity disorder and histrionic personality disorder. Each mental health concern is unique and requires its own level of mental health support.
Mental health support
There is no pause button for mental health. This means that if you have an employee who is suffering from a mental health concern then it is going to follow them into the workplace. It’s estimated that
one in three employees suffer from a mental health issue whilst in employment.
Under the Health & Safety at Work Act, it’s an employers’ responsibility to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their team. Long gone are the days where this only applies to physical health and safety; psychological health and safety is just as important.
You may be wondering where to start when it comes to supporting employees with mental health issues. Mental health has been heavily stigmatised, resulting in the UK adopting a culture where we aren’t too sure what we should do or say when it comes to supporting someone. Thankfully, over the last few years we’ve realised that ignoring mental health issues only makes the situation worse for all involved.
Here are our top tips on providing mental health support within your business: Encourage conversation
Starting a conversation about mental health can be daunting. However, simply asking ‘are you okay?’ is a great place to start when wanting to provide mental health support. It’s not often people want to start a conversation about their mental health issue. This could be because they’re coping fine, they feel embarrassed or they feel vulnerable opening up. Asking a colleague if they’re okay is a non-judgmental, non-invasive way of opening up a dialogue between you both. Creating conversation will break down the stigma associated with mental health, even if your colleague doesn’t feel up to talking about their issue. Any conversation, whether it is about football, the weather or something on TV, can be a momentary distraction, setting the foundation for future conversations where your colleague may feel ready to open up.
Implement mental health training
Level 2 first aid for mental health training provides delegates with the knowledge and skills to provide mental health support. Upon completion of the course, delegates will become a first aider for mental health. First aiders for mental health are point persons within your business who have been suitably trained to:
-identify mental health conditions
-provide advice and start conversations
-create first aid for mental health action plans
Mental health training has gained traction throughout 2018 and 2019 and for good reason. It’s a legal requirement for all businesses to have traditional first aiders should there be a physical emergency, therefore it makes sense that your business has first aiders for any psychological emergencies that may occur.
If you would like more information on our level 2 first aid for mental health training course then
click here. Create a healthy work/life balance
There’s no doubt that demanding work cultures are a cause of mental health issues. Increased work hours, overtime and minimal time off leaves little quality ‘me time’ for employees – something which is vital when promoting positive mental health.
A recent survey has uncovered that 40% of employees neglect other aspects of their life due to work, thus increasing their vulnerability to mental health issues. When providing adequate mental health support, it’s imperative that you are reasonable and fair with your employees’ working hours. This can range from developing policies that relate to mental health and the work/life balance, encouraging managers to spot signs of ‘burnouts’ as well as monitoring your employees’ work load to ensure that workloads are manageable. Introduce an Employee Assistance Programme
Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are becoming increasingly popular within UK businesses. EAP’s help employees deal with stressful situations, whether this is due to a life event or a mental health issue, by providing round the clock mental health support. EAP’s usually consist of telephone counselling, face to face counselling as well as online self-help portals. EAP’s are a discreet, confidential way to provide mental health support for your employees as they deal directly with qualified professionals.
Benefits of mental health support
Supporting your employees through any mental health concerns they may have will not only benefit your employee greatly, but also your business. Evidence suggests that mental health issues account for 12.7% of absenteeism rates, meaning your bottom line can be severely affected. Ensuring your team are happy and healthy can increase their motivation and enthusiasm, and in turn, your company’s performance levels. After all, healthy employees are happy employees.
For more information on how you can provide effective mental health support for your team you can contact our HR and Occupational Health team on 08450 50 40 60.