The research being published in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week are likely to make worrying reading for HR teams.
For example, a poll of 2000 employees by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Bauer Media found that only 14% of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health at work, compared with 42% who would willingly disclose physical issues. The research shows the subject is clearly still taboo, and organisations need to do more to break down the communication barrier.
“Despite the increased awareness around mental health in the workplace, employees are telling us that there is still a significant gap in how we think and act about mental health.” Chief Exec of MHFA Simon Blake said in response to the survey.
HR can play a key role in creating a mentally healthy work environment. Changing an entire company’s perception on mental health isn’t easy, but with a proper strategy in place, it’s an achievable goal. We’ve picked out some useful resources to get you started.
This comprehensive guide from the CIPD and MIND aims to help HR and managers break the culture of silence surrounding mental health in the workplace and to give specific guidance on disclosure. It covers the whole employee lifecycle, from the recruitment process and managing disability and ill health at work, to supporting those returning from a long period of absence. Containing plenty of useful information, practical advice and templates, this is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to facilitate conversations about workplace mental health and stress.
As recent research has shown, people are more comfortable sharing physical problems than mental ones with their employers, meaning it’s vital that organisations are seen to be taking mental health seriously if they want to have a more open dialogue with their employees.
Bringing in mental health first aid training, alongside physical first aid, is a great way of showing employees that both are treated as being equally important. MHFA one of a number of organisations that provide training and consultancy for HR, managers and employees aimed at helping minimise the impact of mental health on working life. They offer a range of options, from basic training to a full qualification, which help workers spot signs of mental health issues, support their colleagues and reduce the overall stigma of reaching out for help.
This government-commissioned review of the UK workforce’s mental wellbeing gives an extensive analysis of the extent to which mental health affects the economy, and offers advice for employers, the government and other stakeholders to make positive changes. This is an in-depth guide, so we recommend starting with Chapter 5: Our Recommendations for Employers and Chapter 6: The Importance of Transparency and Leadership.
UK mental health charity MIND have a range of resources for employers, such as guides on creating a mentally healthy workplace, managing stress and supporting individuals experiencing mental health issues. They’ve also compiled a list of commonly asked questions from HR and line managers about policies for improving and supporting the mental wellbeing of staff. These are comprehensive and invaluable resources for HR professionals in any industry.
Are there any other resources on mental wellbeing in the workplace you’ve found useful? Let us know in the comments.