May 10

Mental Health Awareness week begins today, 9 May 2022….what are you doing to support your staff….?

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According to new research, supporting employee mental health remains the biggest workplace challenge for UK businesses at the moment and according to mental health charity Mind, one in four people in the UK will suffer from some form of mental health problem each year.

A poll of more than 300 companies has found 41% of employers say supporting mental health and wellbeing is their top concern, followed by retaining staff (36%), recruitment (36%), managing Covid-related absence (31%), skills gaps (29%) and hybrid working (26%).

Employers reported implementing the following in a bid to address this:

• review of benefits with increased benefits now on offer;
• investing in health and private medical insurance options;
• allowing more wellbeing days/mental health days;
• retaining flexible hours;
• implementing designated slots in the diary free from virtual meetings.

Although employees are no longer obliged to work from home, it will take time to reverse the impact of isolation and loneliness that has built up over the lockdown. As the hybrid world is still evolving, creating its own range of challenges and opportunities, the most effective approaches will be created by employers working closely with their teams.

Here are six ideas to get your comms around mental health spot on!

1. Run mental health awareness and mindfulness workshops

As well as training for leadership and management, use this week to run mental health awareness workshops to help your employees identify what mental health problems can look like, some signs that their co-workers may be struggling, and how to approach the topic. Spreading awareness of this is key in helping to create an environment where people can feel comfortable discussing it.

You could consider looking at using external providers to deliver training, resources, and workshops, such as from The Wellbeing Project.

Further, you could consider mindfulness training to give your employees the tools they need to process their negative emotions, reduce their stress, and gain insights into their wellbeing.

2. Host talks from management and leaders

Mental health has a huge stigma attached to it, and as many as 60 percent of people with mental health issues felt embarrassed to discuss it with their employers. To address this, it is important to share the experiences of managers or leaders in the team in a safe space and if they are comfortable to do so. Getting them to tell their lived experiences will help employees see that it is not unusual to struggle and face mental health issues, but it will also help them open up about their mental health as it creates a safe environment for them to do so.

3. Hold a series of challenges across the week

A fun way to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week is to hold a series of small challenges during the week to encourage your employees to take time in the day for themselves and their mental health. The challenges can be something as small as an act of kindness, or something like attending one of the mental health workshops or a wellbeing or yoga class.

Anything which gets the workforce talking about mental health and making a small change every day to look after theirs is a win.

4. Arrange a coffee morning

Arranging a coffee morning with your employees where they can talk about any concerns they may have is another activity idea for Mental Health Awareness Week. Create an open channel of communication where they can feel free to talk to their managers, peers, or like-minded individuals about anything and let them know what help is available to them.

If they don’t have anything which they wish to discuss, it is still a nice break from their workday and allows them to take some time for themselves, encouraging healthy habits.

5. Identify your mental health champions

Finally, identify people within your team who can be a mental health ‘champion’. These members of the team will receive some mental health training and can be nominated people who employees can go to if they have any issues which they don’t feel comfortable enough speaking to the managers about.

This solution is not restricted to Mental Health Awareness Week, but rather it is something which can be done year-round to ensure the wellbeing of your employees.

Mental health is not just something to speak about and raise awareness of in May, but an issue which needs to be addressed on many levels within the organisation. Having a healthy company culture and offering support to your employees all year round is essential in actively tackling mental health issues.

For any support on this do email nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44(0)7917 878384