Anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness and more, mental health affects approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK each year. Mental health problems have been on the rise since the early 1990’s. But many employers are failing to understand the importance of supporting mental health in their workplace, leading to:
In fact, almost half of long-term absence is caused by mental health or stress. 45% of Uk workers say that there is nothing in place to improve their mental health in the workplace. It is also well documented that 14.7% of employees in the average UK workplace are currently suffering with mental health problems. Long-term absence is also on the rise with an estimated 12.7% of all sickness attributed to mental health conditions.
As you can see, the implications can be detrimental to businesses, and business owners should be doing everything they can to promote mental health awareness and put safety measures in place.
Mental health problems can affect everyone, so having somewhere to turn to when they arise is important. Appointing a Mental Health Officer is often a good place to start. They can become a go-to person when employees are feeling stressed, or just someone to talk about the issue they are having.
A quick chat is so effective, it shows employees that you care and can quickly lift someone’s spirits if they are feeling low. Having a ‘Chief Happiness Officer’ can help employees open up. As a business owner, it’s up to you how you work with your Mental Health Officer, but here are some possible avenues to explore:
Many employees do not recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, and because of this employees are left feeling ashamed, unheard or untreated. Employees may pass it off as just ‘stress’, or employees sometimes feel like it will just go away in due course. However, in reality this isn’t the case, and untreated issues can become detrimental to well being.
This is why it’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health issues, and offering free screening tests is a great way for employees to anonymously assess their risk factors. Employees who are aware they’re at risk are more likely to seek treatment.
We also advise that you develop a mental health policy. Your policy should include general guidance for dealing with any mental health-related situations, how this mental health guidance links to your other workplace policies, the role of line managers supporting the employee and a section outlining these policies for future recruitment. Mental health, wellbeing and psychological safety training for managers should also be covered.
Training doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive, remember investing in your employees happiness will ultimately improve your business. There are plenty of online courses for mental health awareness which can be completed at your own pace, it’s a great place to start after all!
At FRS we offer a wide range of training courses for a multitude of health and safety needs. We also offer a mental health first aid training course for individuals and businesses. You can browse our website or get in touch for more information.