Mental health issues are increasingly common in the UK with around one in four of the population suffering. Mental Ill-health can occur in a range of different forms, such as depression and anxiety. These issues can severely impact wellbeing of employees, directly affecting home life and productivity at work.
Mental health is described as:
“A state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.”
Those with mental Ill-health are more likely to suffer from:
- Problems thinking clearly and concentrating
- Being distracted easily
- Unusual behaviour
- Accentuated personal feelings
- Lack of self-esteem
Why is Understanding Mental Wellbeing Important to Employers?
Employers have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of their staff. This includes taking reasonable care to prevent the occurrence of mental health issues in the workplace.
Employers need to actively support managers and senior staff in the workplace by providing training and ensuring they are equipped to identify mental health issues as they arise.
A happy, healthy employee will be a far more effective worker than someone that is suffering with mental ill-health. One estimate for the UK suggests that:
“For those with mental ill-health conditions reduced productivity accounts for 1.5 times as much working time lost as sickness absence.”
Reduce Staff Turnover
A working environment where mental health and wellbeing is dismissed as a non-issue is very likely to result in a high turnover of staff.
On the other hand, employees who feel that the employer they work for cares about their overall health and wellbeing are more likely to be motivated, engaged and are less likely to leave.
What Can Employers do to Help?
Staff education is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy working environment. Managers and senior staff need to be able to identify issues with mental health and employee wellbeing as they arise and act accordingly.
There are a wide range of health and wellbeing courses available to employers that can help with understanding and identifying key issues, enabling the risks that arise to be managed effectively.
Reduce the Stigma
Organisations can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health in the workplace by taking mental health issues seriously, educating their staff and building trust. Encouraging openness and honesty without fear of repercussions is a significant step to a healthy employer/employee relationship.
Encourage Equality between Physical and Mental Illness
Encouraging equality between physical and mental illness will help reassure employees that their mental health is just as important as their physical well-being. It is important for employees to know that that they will not be discriminated against for mental health issues that may have.
Educate Your Team with ACT
Effectively managing mental health and wellbeing issues begins with education. Managers, senior staff and directors need to be trained to ensure they are equipped to identify mental health issues when they arise.
Here at ACT we offer a variety of health and safety courses, including the NEBOSH National Health and Well-Being Certificate. The Health and wellbeing certificate is an excellent short course that provides a broad understanding of health and well-being issues that affect workplaces and enables the risks that arise to be managed effectively.
This short course requires no previous health and wellbeing experience and is perfect for:
- Managers, supervisors and worker representatives
- HR Personnel
- Occupational health and safety practitioners looking for a refresher
- Those responsible for health and wellbeing strategies and review
Phone: 01384 447915
We’d be happy to help!