Following on from this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week we explore how companies could benefit from placing more of a focus on mental health issues within the workplace. Whether this be by implementing wellbeing initiatives, or creating mental health support networks, we look at how businesses can benefit from supporting their employees’ mental wellbeing.
It is important that employers understand the growing importance of mental wellbeing, of both themselves and their employees. In addition to this, Mental health awarness companies supporting mental health could benefit from taking proactive steps such as implementing health and wellbeing initiatives and support groups in order to promote positive mental health and wellbeing and to offer advice and support to whose we may be suffering from a mental health issue.
Here at VERCIDA, we work to showcase the fantastic work of employers who take mental health seriously. We provide a platform where you can shout about why you are a fantastic place to work and share what matters to you.
Here are 13 reasons why your business could benefit from promoting positive mental wellbeing within the workplace:
- One in six people will experience a mental health illness in any given week, this means that a large amount of people will experience a mental health illness in their working lives. As employers, it is vital to understand that there may be periods when your employees are feeling more positive or negative about issues and this is a normal thing that should be recognised.
- A survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that 86% of respondents felt that their work was important to protecting and maintaining their mental health. Therefore, businesses should be taking steps to improve their employees’ mental wellbeing in order to reduce employee stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues in the workplace.
- The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that mental ill-health costs the UK around 4.5 per cent of GDP in lost working days, reduced productivity and higher benefits spending. This shows the economic disadvantages of mental health illnesses within the workplace and how this can negatively affect business, due to lack of productivity.
- A study by the mental health charity, Mind found that 21% of respondents had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress affected them, 14% had resigned due to workplace stress and 42% had considered resigning. This highlights the importance of supporting employees with their mental health in order to increase employee retention.
- Only a third (34%) of workers who have experienced a mental health problem in the past five years have felt well supported by their manager. We think that means that there is plenty of room for improvement regarding mental health support for employees, as employees should feel able to speak to their employer regarding these issues in order to receive support.
- If you have a workplace that is understanding and accepting of mental health issues, both employees and the business could greatly benefit as employees are more likely to feel happy and comfortable at work. Therefore, increasing employees’ loyalty to the company.
- If a business is able to break down the barriers that exist surrounding mental health by creating support groups and employee networks where staff feel that they are able to share their experiences and encourage positive conversation regarding mental health they will benefit from becoming a forward-thinking employer who is accepting of mental health.
- It has been found that 12.1% of UK GDP is made up from individuals in the workforce who have experienced a mental health problem, this figure shows that those people who have experienced a mental health issue are a great benefit to businesses and that they should feel supported coming back to or starting work after a period of absence.
- Mind found that 56% of employers would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel that they have the right training or guidance. By providing your staff with the skills that they need to engage with employees regarding mental health you can help to improve the relationship between the two and promote open communication. This can be achieved by sending staff on courses or giving them workshops in order to give them the skills and confidence that they need.
- The Mental Health Foundation says that by 2030, depression will be the biggest cause of illness on the planet. As the majority of many peoples’ lives are spent at work, it is key that employers place a focus on mental health in the workplace now. If employers are able to do this, they will be taking a proactive approach to prevent employees from feeling overwhelmed at work due to the pressures and stress that they may be facing and it could reduce employee absence due to mental illness.
- Businesses are able to show their commitment to promoting positive mental health by getting involved in and creating events for their employees to discuss mental health and take action on improving their mental wellbeing. This can be achieved by taking part in wellbeing sessions that can involve activities such as meditation, yoga, gardening and more.
- In addition to the many ways that employers can be inclusive of mental health within the workplace, there are ways that employers can support employees from outside the organisation. For example, directing employees to charities that offer counselling and support to those who may be suffering from a mental health issue. There are also external helplines that employees could be made aware of if they feel that they would benefit from speaking to someone confidentially outside of the organisation in order to get advice and support.
- Implementing mental health policies at all levels in your organisation will provide employees with the reassurance that they are able to disclose any mental health issues to their manager without fear of discrimination. If mangers have the confidence to deal with this issue in a positive manner there will be benefits for both parties involved.
It is clear to see from the above statistics that there is a significant divide between the number of employees in work suffering from mental health conditions and the support that is available to them in the workplace. Whether this be a mental health support group or the implementation of a mental health policy, there are a variety of ways that businesses can implement strategies in order to ensure that they are encouraging mental wellbeing amongst both employees and staff within the workplace.
So, what are you doing about mental health?
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