The Practicality Of Workplace Mental Health Initiatives

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Have you ever settled down to pinpoint information about Workplace Mental Health Initiatives just to find yourself staring aghast at your computer monitor? I know I have.

Mental health, like other aspects of health, can be affected by a range of socioeconomic factors that need to be addressed through comprehensive strategies for promotion, prevention, treatment and recovery in a whole-of-government approach. If you are worried about your mental health, or other people are expressing concerns, you may want to get professional help. If you work for a large organisation, they may have an occupational health service, where you can discuss worries about your health and problems you may be facing at work. How people are treated and managed on a day-to-day basis is central to their mental well-being and engagement, as well as the level of trust in the employment relationship. The behaviours of line managers will, to a large degree, determine the extent to which employees will go the extra mile in their jobs, are resilient under pressure and remain loyal to their organisation. With a national conversation around mental illness on the rise—and knowledge that over 18% of adults in the United States experience some form of anxiety disorder—it’s no surprise that workplaces are starting to join the conversation. Try and make sure you maintain your friendships and family relationships even when work is intense – a work–life balance is important, and experts now believe that loneliness may be as bad for our health as smoking or obesity. Every employee is an expert on how their mental health affects them, so they are the best person to advocate for their needs at work.

Workplace Mental Health Initiatives

Mental health interventions should be delivered as part of an integrated health and well-being strategy that covers prevention, early identification, support and rehabilitation. Occupational health services or professionals may support organizations in implementing these interventions where they are available, but even when they are not, a number of changes can be made that may protect and promote mental health. While there’s no right way to build a psychologically safe work environment, mental health impacts for employees should be considered in the HR strategy to ensure everyone feels supported. While there is a greater need for support with mental health at work, there is growing evidence to suggest that individuals around the world are recognizing the importance and benefit of self-care more than ever. Mental health is too often that big elephant in the room that everyone avoids discussing. Which - considering 1 in 4 of us experience mental health problems each year - is ludicrous. Communication that emphasizes that leadership cares about concepts such as managing employees with mental health issues should be welcomed in the working environment.

  1. Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace

Employers can play a more significant role in supporting employees through major life events which may include bereavement, problem debt, and relationship breakdown, which can cause or exacerbate mental health conditions. A recent survey by Wellable found that “overall, employers are increasing their investment in health and well-being programs with more than double (35%) planning to invest more compared to those who plan to invest less (14%).” The survey also found that stress management ranked among the highest in terms of how many companies expect to invest more in this area. When an employee is thriving in their career, their “live for the weekend” mindset fades or disappears altogether. The drop in mood from Sunday to Monday is essentially cut in half. These employees are more productive, creative and innovative because they find their work intrinsically rewarding. When working with a diverse team, your choice of words or methods of communication can make or break a delicate situation. Improved soft skills can help managers remain mindful in tough situations and help them connect more positively with their team. The right emotional intelligence may help them determine the appropriate approaches – everything from the best time of day to talk to a struggling employee, to nuances in language, to the appropriate environment for the difficult conversation. Employers need to think about using computer programs and websites to give extra help to their workers, so they can look after their mental health conditions. Everyone should be able to use these programs and websites when they need to. An opinion on employers duty of care mental health is undoubtebly to be had in every workplace in the country.

Psychological health and safety (PHS) is embedded in the way people interact with one another on a daily basis, it is part of the way working conditions and management practices are structured. Bearing this in mind mental health is a significant challenge across workplaces. As well as having a huge impact on individual employees, poor mental health has severe repercussions for employers – including increased staff turnover, sickness absence due to debilitating depression, burnout and exhaustion, decreased motivation and lost productivity. Complement colleagues for work done well; it will make you feel as good as them. Encouraging a collaborative and supportive working environment where people are appreciated can really help improve mental health at work. Don’t let disagreements fester, deal with conflicts straight away. We know that poor mental health has a huge impact on an individual’s life and those around them. Impacts can range from lack of sleep or panic attacks; difficulty in concentrating; and low confidence. This can lead to a downwards spiral, as an individual may withdraw from social situations and lose their support networks and structures at a time when they need them most. When their hard work, dedication and teamwork are appreciated, your employees’ feel more fulfilled and satisfied in their jobs. In addition, employee recognition positively affects productivity and creates a culture of appreciation. Overall, employee recognition has a power to inspire your employees and make them realize what a crucial part of your company they are. For employers not investing in wellbeing initiatives, how to manage an employee with anxiety can be a difficult notion to comprehend.

  1. On-site Mental Health Support

Managing underperformance where it is linked to mental ill health is among the most complex and difficult situations a manager can face. Clear expectations of roles, responsibilities, provision of support, as well as regular informal feedback on performance, help to create good relationships and a healthy performance management culture. All employers can and should evelop mental health awareness among employees by making information, tools and support accessible. If an employee has a mental health issue, it’s important their employer takes it seriously. For example, it’s a good idea to talk to the employee to find out what support they might need at work. According to a study by Deloitte, 72 percent of workplaces have no mental health policy – the major reason for this being that mental health policies are often hastily born out of reaction to internal incidents or negative experiences within the organization, rather than already existing as a proactive and preventative measure. The costs associated with employees' mental health problems are significant for businesses and other organisations. These costs are associated with loss in productivity because of sickness absence, early retirement, and increased staff turnover, recruitment and training. Evidence also shows that productivity can be reduced through the lower level of performance of employees who are at work but experiencing stress or mental health problems. Even though it may not be easy to become an employee-centric company addressing workplace wellbeing ideas it is of utmost importance in this day and age.

Mental health issues are common in the workplace. In the UK, almost 1 in 7 people experience mental health problems in the workplace. They also account for over 12% of all sickness absence days. Some common mental health issues are depression and anxiety. Did you know that poor mental health and work-related stress now accounts for over half of absences in the workplace? Last year, in the UK alone, 15.4 million working days were lost due to conditions associated with poor mental health and wellness. More people are taking “sick days” to work on mental well-being (versus taking days off to address physical illnesses or injuries), resulting in costs of up to $1 trillion in lost productivity for the global economy. The human costs of mental illness are clearly significant, and mental health problems caused or exacerbated by work can have knock-on impacts across an individual’s home life, even where they appear to be coping at work. The economic costs to employers, directly to Government and to the economy as a whole are also far greater than anticipated. Organisations should address discrimination, support disclosure and value the diversity and transferable skills that the lived experience of mental health problems brings. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we all have individual needs and expectations that we hope to have met from our work relationships, particularly from our team or manager. When those needs or expectations aren’t met, or you encounter peers or a manager who don’t show basic care or consideration toward you, it’s not likely to make you want to open up to them. Discussing ideas such as workplace wellbeing support is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.

  1. Performance Dips Caused By Mental Health Issues

It is incumbent upon all of us, to work together to improve workplace health. Every one of us should have the opportunity to benefit from the positive impact good work has on physical and mental health, especially those with existing mental health conditions. What can employers do to address the mental health action gap and support employees? Supporting employees’ mental health centres on five elements: developing a mental health strategy; building a psychologically healthy and safe workplace culture; providing robust communications; ensuring adequate resources; and preparing for hybrid work. The ultimate human cost is loss of life through suicide. We know that rates of poor mental health and suicide are higher for employees in certain industries though clearly there are a number of factors which contribute to such trends. For example, suicide rates among men working in construction and decorating are more than 35% more likely to take their own lives, and female nurses are 24% more likely to commit suicide than the national average for women. One can uncover extra information regarding Workplace Mental Health Initiatives in this Health and Safety Executive page.

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