Posted by: Zoe Bradley

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Workplace Mental Health Roundtable

The Business Case

• Estimated £35-90bn lost yearly in revenue due to employees taking time off due to stress/anxiety/depression
• 1 in 5 employees take a day off due to stress yet 90% of these employees cited a different reason for their absence
• Still a big stigma attached in the workplace around mental health. Looking after the mental health and wellbeing of employees makes business sense.

Culture

• Leaders must be role models to drive culture change around mental health. Share their own experiences, get their buy-in with the top team first to start changing the conversation.
• Know your people inside out. Take time to get to know your staff without being intrusive. Encourage a culture of conversations e.g. Walk & Talk
• Ensure everyone must take personal responsibility for their mental and physical health.
• In global organisations, one approach will not fit all regions. Consider cross-cultural mental health strategies to meet local needs.
• Empowering vs controlling cultures create a happier healthier workforce.
• Review flexible working patterns to alleviate work/life balance issues.
• Demonstrate you are an employer that does not discriminate based on mental health needs. Consider time to change pledge and employer recognition.

Mental Health First Aiders

• Be clear on the role, create a role definition and recruit employees with the right characteristics and attributes. Mental Health First Aiders must be approachable and trustworthy.

Mental Health Training

• Employees leave bad managers. Leaders and managers need to be equipped with the right skills training in the first place to be effective people managers.
• Ensure all managers are equipped with the skills to identify and manage employees with mental health needs. Consider Management and Supervisory Training in Mental Health and Work/Life balance training as part of induction and management development approaches.
• Equip managers so that they can use Wellness Action Plans (WAP) with team members that need reasonable adjustments, line manager and external support.

Recruitment

• Promote company as an equal opportunity employer in all areas of physical and mental abilities.
• Incorporate mental health practices into policies, handbooks and induction.

Language

• Find positive ways to frame the language around mental health i.e. ‘mental’ may hold negative connotations?

Employee Benefits

• Adopt an EAP scheme and make sure managers and employees know the benefits and how to access services e.g. Counselling
• Provide healthcare insurance for all
• Consider health and wellbeing services e.g. Personal Trainer assessments, healthy eating,

Potential Causes

• Poor leadership and people management skills. Low emotional intelligence.
• Workplace bullying
• Unrealistic targets and objectives
• Workplace environment e.g. open plan offices
• Dis- empowerment and micromanagement
• Lack of social interaction and conversations
• Sedentary jobs

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These questions are all too common following a very simple, information gathering exercise..

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