Mental health and wellbeing in the workplace

As part of our mission to create great places to work, JourneyHR recently hosted an in-depth discussion and learning seminar on the topic of ‘mental health and wellbeing in the workplace’, with a specific focus on creating a positive working culture. The event featured guest speakers Mind, the leading mental health awareness charity, and Jonathan Palmer our mental health and wellbeing coach. Here are our key takeaways from the evening.

·        Many people believe that mental health is just about mental ill-health, but it is actually about mental well-health too. This misconception means that even the most progressive companies are only spending time tackling existing mental health problems rather than addressing the potential causes. This is of course essential, but preventative conversations and actions can stop many employees suffering from work related ill-health before it progresses too far. Employers and managers must explore the different ways to promote mental well-health proactively – the response and results will be clear to see.

·        Senior staff should stick it to the stigma! Mental health is still such a taboo subject in the workplace, yet its prevalence is undeniable. The statistics don’t lie: 1 in 6 employees deal with anxiety, depression or stress in the workplace; 1 in 5 employees call in sick due to mental health issues, yet 95% of these individuals give a different reason to their employer. The reality is that almost everyone has experienced work related stress and if there was an open forum to discuss this amongst colleagues, the issue could be tackled. Senior directors have the influence to open the door to these conversations and by doing so, employees will feel they have ‘permission’ to express their own challenges or experiences.

·        Anyone who manages people needs to have strong emotional intelligence and the skills to recognise mental health concerns. It is easy to hear someone talking, but hard to really listen to their struggles. After the initial disclosure it is essential that the listener exercises clear communication with the employee and identifies what next steps could be taken. Sometimes this may just be continuing to listen, making a small adjustment to their working environment or in some instances, remembering that they are not a medical practitioner and realising that it is ok to call in the experts!

If you are interested in finding out how to make your business a great place to work, please get in touch!