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  • Joanne Quinn (WYIM)

Mental Health in the Workplace - Advice for Managers - Supporting Colleagues


Over 11 million days are lost at work every year because of stress at work. So, as a manager how can you help reduce this and support positive mental health in the workplace?

Here are some ideas for ensuring, as a manager, you are equipped and confident to be able to promote a culture of positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Training – If you’ve not already received training in mental health awareness, book onto a course. Having the skills and confidence to support employees with poor mental health is a must have for any people manager. Promote a positive work culture - Encouraging an ethos whereby staff know that it's OK not to be OK and create a space where employees feel safe talking about their mental health.

Flexible working – While there have been massive benefits in the increased use of technology, the rise of an ‘always on’ culture can have a negative effect on staff wellbeing. This can be counter-balanced by allowing a more flexible workplace.

Promote what support is available - You may have Mental Health First Aiders or an Employee Assistance Programme, but does everyone know about them? It’s essential that your teams know what they have access to and how they can access it.

Annual leave - Encourage people to take their annual leave and ‘switch off’.

Manage workloads - Take action when employees are overstretched and have too much on.

Set achievable goals - Set realistic expectations, deadlines and targets that are achievable which factor in the individual’s experience, capability and working style. If you are responsible for someone who is struggling with their mental health you can support them by making reasonable adjustments to enable them to continue to work. Everyone is different and will experience mental health problems differently and so what works for one person may not work for another. It’s therefore important to discuss any workplace adjustments with the individual concerned.

There are also many external organisations and resources available such as Access to Work, the Fit for Work Service and Able Futures.

Links to these and other helpful resources can be found below. https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wbk01.htm https://www.able-futures.co.uk https://fitforwork.org/ https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/4660/mental-health-at-work-1_tcm18-10567.pdf https://cdn.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/05111111/line_managers_resource.pdf

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