Mental health issues affect everyone at some point in their lives. It is projected that one out of every four of us will have mental health issues at some point in our lives. As employers it is crucial to get a better understanding of employee’s mental health issues that may effect their well being in the workplace.
Given how much time we spend there, it’s no wonder that our jobs can have a significant impact on our mental health. According to the mental health charity Mind, more than 1 in 5 persons admitted to calling in ill to escape work while they were suffering from mental health problems as a result of workplace stress.
Although free of restrictions, the Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably focused attention on mental health in the workplace, as lockdowns have imposed new pressures and obstacles on companies and employees alike, all of which have the potential to significantly influence mental health. Since the pandemic began, demand for mental health services has increased in more than half of UK organisations, with the number of adults having moderate to severe depressive symptoms rising by 9% at the start of the first lockdown. 34 percent of individuals surveyed stated their mental health was affecting their employment.
So, what can employers do to assist employees? During this week of mental health awareness, Kiwi Recruitment examined at what companies can do to help their employees’ mental health in the workplace.
Employers are increasingly investing in training programmes to improve their own and their workers’ understanding of mental illness and how to effectively manage it. These programmes can be delivered via online E-learning or on-site training.
Employees will learn how to recognise the signs of deteriorating mental health and what they can do about it through mental health training programmes (e.g., increased workload due to short staffing, working through breaks, not feeling valued as an employee etc). They’ll also give employees advice on how to deal with these issues.
These training programmes are important in assisting employees in being aware of changes in their mental health and how to properly deal with them. Not only that, but they also teach managers and staff how to recognise indicators that someone is in distress and how to assist them.
If you and your company are committed to improving mental health in the workplace, you must have policies and procedures in place to back it up. You can include a mental health element in your health and safety standards. This should outline the steps for assisting an employee who is experiencing mental health issues and should be made available to all employees.
Due to the pandemic’s new fears about a range of things, such as hygiene and travel, it’s probable that your policies aren’t up to date. It’s also possible that you’d like to change the policies as a result of the lockdowns, which have made mental health a higher priority in the workplace.
When appropriate, it’s a good idea to ask your employees what they think they need to feel safe and supported before incorporating these into your policies. This will reassure and inform your staff that you are committed to supporting their mental health at work.
There are a variety of employee benefits that can assist employers in supporting their employees’ mental health. There are mental health applications and trackers that can be used to monitor an employee’s mental health and provide a nudge to seek additional care if and when needed.
When an employee’s mental health is causing them problems, there are a number of various support systems that can be supplied. Specialist helplines, online video counselling sessions, and early intervention services, as well as inpatient and outpatient care through private medical providers, are available depending on the severity of their symptoms.
An Employee Assistance Program is the most popular alternative (EAP). Employee assistance programmes (EAPs) provide a variety of services to employees with personal or work-related issues, including free and confidential assessments, short-term counselling, referrals, and follow-up services. They address a wide range of issues that can have an impact on mental health (e.g., alcohol/substance abuse, sorrow, stress, abuse, family troubles, and other psychological illnesses). EAPs can be purchased separately or as part of a larger package that includes life insurance or private medical insurance.
According to data from one of Towergate Health & Protection’s major EAP providers, calls to their counselling helpline for anxiety assistance increased by 36% in 2020. It’s more important than ever to have a support structure in place to protect and assist employees’ mental health.
When an employee must organise their lives around a rigorous work schedule, it can cause a lot of stress. Allowing employees some flexibility in how, when, and where they work, if possible, could be good to their mental health and performance.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, flexible working arrangements and work-from-home advantages have grown commonplace, and they have proven to be critical in protecting employees in the majority of cases. Allowing employees to work from home and providing flexible working choices where possible can reduce stress and improve work/life balance, resulting in happier and more productive employees.
When it comes to helping employees’ mental health, communication is crucial. Employees must be able to express their worries and challenges to their employers in order for them to be aware of the problem and receive assistance in seeking solutions or better managing it. To guarantee this, employers should ensure that a line of communication is established and encourage employees to communicate their concerns with them.
Furthermore, don’t wait until there’s a problem before checking in with your workers. If employers check in with their employees on a regular basis to see how they’re doing and how things are going, they’ll feel more at ease about sharing their thoughts and concerns with their boss. They may even come forward with their issues sooner, allowing them to be resolved before they become a greater problem.
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