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Make known some myths about Employer's Mental Health Programs Approaches that you've observed

There is a broad range of issues that can have an impact on a person’s mental health. These can include: divorce and separation, the 24/7 “always on” culture and its effect on sleep, the need to juggle multiple responsibilities and roles in addition to work, financial pressures, and, for many, the despair of isolation and loneliness. If you're worried about someone at work, asking them if they're okay, and showing you care, makes a huge difference. We need to understand and address the causes of mental health problems and ensure that working life both supports good mental health and addresses risk factors. If an employee is not mentally well enough to be at work, staying at work may be detrimental to their own health and recovery, as well as possibly impacting negatively on fellow employees. If this is the case, companies should be proactive in recognising that professional/clinical help is the best option, and to facilitate this before the employee and others are affected further. Many UK businesses seem to be largely diminishing the importance of mental health in the workplace and instead a tick box culture has manifested in the place of genuine support. Mental health conditions are a leading cause of sickness absence in the UK (ranked after minor illnesses and musculoskeletal problems). More than 17.5 million absence days were attributed to stress, anxiety and depression in 2018 (ONS, 2019).

Employer's Mental Health Programs Approaches

oo many employees leave the labour market unnecessarily due to ill mental health. This can affect the individual’s wellbeing, their family, their friends and the community. The workplace culture and systems of work are critical to supporting employees with mental health conditions - helping them to stay at work, or return to work quickly, and participate in meaningful and productive duties. Mental wellbeing is one of the most valuable business assets. Workplaces that prioritise mental health have better engagement, reduced absenteeism and higher productivity, while people have improved wellbeing, greater morale and higher job satisfaction. Good mental health is vital to business performance, because when staff feel happy and well cared for, they are more engaged, more motivated and more loyal. As many as a third of employees would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel looked after by their employer and a further 21% would be less motivated and productive. 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. Similarly to any change that happens within organizations, discussions around managing employees with mental health issues need planning and implementing properly.

Mental Health Disorders

Employers may not be fully aware of their employees’ mental health needs. Stigma is reduced when people can talk openly about mental health. This leads to more understanding and a greater likelihood people will seek support earlier. Putting workplace support in place for mental health early to deal with any issues could prevent the problem escalating and having a larger impact on both the individual and the team. If burnout seems inevitable, try to take a complete break from work. Go on vacation, use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence, anything to remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and pursue other methods of recovery. Many people don’t realize that the brain recognizes rejections and failures the same way it recognizes physical pain. While most people know to take care of themselves when physically ill, they don’t always think to give themselves the same level of care when they’ve taken a hit to their self-esteem. Subjects such as workplace wellbeing ideas can be tackled by getting the appropriate support in place.

Mental heath training is important because it can help leaders better understand the links between job stress and health. They can also learn what they can do to support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Training should also focus on diversity and inclusivity. By including these topics, leaders will be better equipped to meet their employees ‘where they are.’ It will also help them to respond appropriately. If people with poor mental health who are in work are not supported at work it can cost employers a huge amount of money. This is because the person may need time off work to deal with their illness if they do not get the support they need. This costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion each year. Mental health services are listed among ten essential health benefits required under the Affordable Care Act. Requiring providers to offer mental health coverage is a huge step toward ensuring that employees have access to necessary resources. How each insurance plan covers mental health services varies, but they must offer some coverage in order to stay compliant. We’re all human and challenges in life or at work can reduce our wellbeing and our effectiveness. What are your thoughts on your job? You are not bound to suffering if you are worried and dissatisfied but feel trapped with no choices. Whether your job is moderately stressful or plagued with friction and challenges, there are techniques to boost your psychological well-being at work. Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around workplace wellbeing support in your organisation.

Take Stock

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. Potential workplace triggers for distress include job insecurity or poor change management, high-risk roles and lone working. Most employers will have policies and procedures in place for performance management, but where there are suspected or known health issues, these should also be explored, prior to any formal processes. If the root causes of poor performance are not addressed, any solutions are unlikely to fully resolve the issue, so problems can spiral into sickness absence. Employers need to communicate clearly through policies on stress management or mental health that people with issues will be supported and outline what help is available, as well as being clear with employees about relevant ill health and capability procedures. Companies can lead by destigmatizing mental health as a topic and also taking a broader view of the company’s role. We can redefine mental health by focusing on solutions that help employees flourish personally and professionally, in addition to providing support and access for clinical care for those most in need. Thinking about concepts such as how to manage an employee with anxiety is really helpful in a workplace environment.

The employment relationship is not static—just like an organisation’s focus will change over time, the employee’s career and development needs will also change. Employees may require different levels of support and work adjustments at different times in their working life. As such, managers need to consider employees and their needs on an ongoing basis. Increasingly digital health and apps can make engagement in an individual’s mental health easier. For example Soma Analytics have developed an application which measures work-related stress. It uses the sensors in people’s smartphones to identify behavioural changes, such as sleep quality, emotion in voice and physical activity that signal they are at a risk of work-related mental ill health. Employees are often afraid to discuss their mental health issues with their work colleagues and line managers - and this is often due to the risk of being treated differently or discriminated against. Communication is key when it comes to mental health. Employee perceptions about attitudes towards mental health and available support may be as important as having the support there in the first place. Organising charity events at work generates a feeling of belonging within your team. The act of generosity is associated with enhancing community identity and promoting wellness across the workplace. Volunteering provides a way for individuals to express their values, strengthening social relationships within the office. Organisations can make sure their employee benefits package provides support for employers duty of care mental health today.

Prioritize Emotional Wellness

We know that mental health problems increase the risk of people being unemployed for a long period and falling into poverty. National policies that support employers to recruit and then sustain people with mental health problems in work are good for business, good for people and good for our society. If your corporate space allows, provide a room or an area that encourages headspace or downtime. If not, encourage your staff to take regular breaks away from their screens. Stretch those legs, get some fresh air and be present in nature. Harassment and bullying at work are commonly reported problems, and can have a substantial adverse impact on mental health. Unearth supplementary insights appertaining to Employer's Mental Health Programs Approaches at this Health and Safety Executive web page.

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