With everything going on in the world right now, this year’s World Mental Health Day holds even more significance.
Whether you deem yourself to be a struggler of mental health or not, everyone has experienced the lows of the pandemic.
According to mental health charity Mind, more than half of adults (60%) and over two-thirds of young people (68%) said that their mental health got significantly worse during the lockdown.
This means that now more than ever, everyone needs a network of support whether that is at home, socially or at work.
In particular, for businesses, this is the time to be prioritising the welfare of their staff members.
So, how can we ensure we support our employees on October 10th and beyond?
Reward your employees by offering flexibility. Lockdown proved that not only can we successfully work in all sorts of environment’s but when times get tough, people can really pull together. Flexibility can come in various forms from offering one study day per week to being flexible with work hours and can be moulded so that it works in the best interests of the business and its staff.
Investing in training could save someone’s life. Prioritise time to educate staff on the signs to look for, the correct procedures and the available services that are there to help. Mental health can affect everyone in different ways, so the more your team are educated on it, the better they can prevent and deal with a situation should one arise.
Do you supply your employees with an external support network? It is not always suitable for staff to reach out to their employer directly, and some employers may not have the resources to deal with this sufficiently in-house, but you can invest in external support, an organisation that is completely separate to the business and is a place where employees can go in confidence.
We all know there is more to life than work, and every employer should recognise this. Not only are non-work-related team activities great for team building, but they can be extremely beneficial in enhancing employee well-being. This could be a midday yoga session or an after-work football game. Exercise-based activities not only have physical health benefits but mental, helping to reduce stress and release endorphins.
Do you have a mental health and well-being programme in place? If not, do you have the resources to address these situations accordingly? Do staff members know what they should do when concerned about their own welfare or others? Having a programme in place ensures that you are prepared.
Appoint a Mental Health First Aider as a source of contact for employees that are experiencing emotional distress or mental health issues. This interaction could range from having an initial 1-1 conversation through to supporting that person in getting the appropriate help.
Good management can go a long way, not only to ensure your staff members have a good work-life but to recognise the signs when they are not. Management should actively appraise staff for their work when it is warranted and set time aside to discuss non-task related issues, giving employees an open opportunity to voice any matters of concern.
Work smart, not hard. Encouraging your staff members to take regular breaks ensures they do not burn out. Employees should be able to take regular breaks during the day and take a sufficient lunchtime to help them de-stress and re-charge for the next part of their day.