The annual spotlight on Mental Health via Mental Health Week has just finished, but rather than fade into the background it’s important that employers maintain a focus on mental wellbeing all year round.

Sadly, 1 in 4 people in the UK are now affected by some form of mental ill health each year, so it is inevitable that most workplaces will experience employees who are struggling at some time or other.  Knowing how to support your staff members is more important than ever because what’s good for your staff will be good for business:

  • Mental health related sickness absence costs the UK over £2.4 billion per year
  • 95% of employees calling in sick with stress give a different reason
  • 9 out of 10 people in the workplace say they wouldn’t tell people at work if they are experiencing problems with their mental health

Promoting employee well-being and taking proactive steps can reduce sickness absence, help retain staff and increase your attractiveness as an employer.  Having employees economically active and healthy within a business has got to be good news for the bottom line.

Spotting signs that could indicate a person is suffering from mental ill health should be an important element of your people management process.  A workplace where managers know what to look for, where colleagues can confide with confidence within an environment where issues can be addressed at an early stage, employers can help prevent problems building.

Here are 5 ways you can promote a proactive mental health strategy

  • Create a culture where it’s OK to talk about mental health
  • Train your managers to look for the early signs of declining mental health and give them the confidence to hold supportive conversations
  • Establish a mental health champion network or offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) where your employees can access free support and advice on their mental health and wellbeing.
  • Explore ways the business can accommodate and support people who are experiencing problems through increased flexibility and peer support
  • DON’T PANIC! Issues that you uncover will already be there, drawing them out means you can now address and deal with them.  There will be long term business gain for short term pain.

There is a plethora of information online, we think this website https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/ is a good starting point because it has tools and downloads that can help business owners and employees.  We can support business owners and managers to make the cultural changes that will lead to a healthier workforce and provide practical support and advice to help you manage employees that are suffering from poor mental health.

Pennine HR provides specialist outsourced HR Support for businesses across the North of England which is delivered by a CIPD qualified team with real life business management experience.  Call us on 01484 841776 or drop us a line info@penninehr.co.uk to find out how we can help your business grow and thrive.