You have a key role to play in improving mental wellbeing in your workplace.
All you need to know in 30 seconds
Mental health problems affect one in four people at some point in their life. They account for around 30 per cent of sickness absence in the NHS so line managers need to be aware of the different types of problems and how to deal with them.
While mental health can seem like a difficult subject to tackle, you don’t need to be an expert in mental health to help your employees. You do need to understand how to support your employees and have open conversations with them.
Like physical health problems, mental health problems can fluctuate so what may be minor one day could be a major problem the next day.
Your response should first be to listen and give your employees the information and support they need to plan and manage their work. You can support mental wellbeing in your workplace by:
- encouraging open and honest communication
- monitoring employees’ workloads
- giving employees control over their work, where possible
- keeping employees informed of upcoming organisation or team changes
- knowing reasonable adjustment and phased return options available to you (cross reference to reasonable adjustments and phased return)
All you need to know in detail
While it is sometimes seen as a challenging issue to talk about, you don’t need to be an expert in mental health to support your team. However, you do have a key role to play in improving mental wellbeing in your workplace.
Having open conversations with employees about their mental health, providing support and creating a culture of positive mental wellbeing in your team can make a big difference to how employees are able to manage stress and other mental health problems.
Mental health can fluctuate along a spectrum in the same way that physical health can, and there may be times when it is better than others. Mental health problems should be supported in the same honest and consistent way that physical health problems are. This includes making reasonable adjustments where appropriate.
Types of mental health conditions
Mental health problems cover a range of conditions, including: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, bipolar disorder (manic depression), schizophrenia, personality disorders and psychosis. Find out more about particular conditions on the Mind website (www.mind.org.uk). Further information is also available on the 'Healthier Mind’ pages of the Board’s ‘‘Staff Health’ website.
Encouraging positive mental wellbeing
You can create and maintain positive mental wellbeing in your team by:
- making sure employees understand their own objectives, their team’s objectives and the organisation’s objectives, including the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback
- giving employees control over how they deliver their work where possible
- monitoring employees’ workload, to ensure what they are expected to deliver is realistic within the timescales, and that resources are available
- being fair and consistent in dealings with employees and applying the Board’s policies. You should take account of individual circumstances but overall be consistent so that all employees feel fairly treated
- informing employees about organisation or team changes, and explaining the rationale for actions and decisions taken
- encouraging open and honest communication, by creating a culture where people are treated with dignity and respect, and bullying and harassment is not tolerated. This includes encouraging employees to talk about mental health, and creating a safe environment for employees to disclose their own mental health problems
- encouraging employees to ask questions and have discussions during periods of change, even if not all the information is available. This can alleviate rumours and allow employees to vent feelings in a safe environment
- being clear and consistent about the kind of reasonable adjustments available that could support employees
- considering early referral to occupational health and signposting to self help resources.
Read more information on Mental Health and Wellbeing.