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Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, especially in the workplace. Therefore it is essential for businesses to prioritise the mental well-being of their employees just as much as their physical health.

As an occupational health business, Acorn is dedicated to assisting businesses in prioritising the safety, health, and overall well-being of their employees. Our goal is to enhance employee well-being and productivity by providing a comprehensive range of services. We specialise in helping UK businesses establish a workplace environment that is not only physically safe but also fosters mental well-being.

 

Mental Health in the Workplace

 

Over the years, mental health in the workplace has become an increasingly important issue. It is now more crucial than ever for businesses to create a supportive environment. Especially considering the impact that Covid-19 had on people globally, with working from home becoming the norm, which in turn increased feelings of loneliness and disconnection for many.

Mind shared insight that one in five workers have called in sick to avoid work and that 30% would not feel comfortable talking to their line manager if they were experiencing stress.

This clearly displays that there is still a stigma and misunderstanding about mental health in the workplace. With employees hiding issues rather than approaching managers for support.

 

Mental Health issues

 

There is a wide range of mental health issues that individuals struggle with. Each also differs from person to person, and how this affects their day-to-day life. However, it’s important to understand the range of mental health issues which people can experience:

 

  • Panic attacks
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Addiction
  • Self-harm
  • Eating problems
  • Stress

 

Can work make mental health worse?

 

If a person struggles with a mental health issue and it’s not properly managed then work could make the issue worse. However, increasing awareness of these topics and how common they are can help to break the taboo around mental health. Encouraging open and safe communication about mental health creates a more inclusive culture.

Although, if a person does not have mental health issues, work can indeed create them. HSE has stated that there are six causes of stress or stressors in the workplace. These include demands, relationships, roles, support, control, and change. Stress is a common issue that can be caused by work and burnout is a common result of stress at work.

According to the World Health Organisation, mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression result in a loss of over £1 trillion each year in productivity. Therefore it’s not just important to ensure the workplace does not negatively affect individuals’ mental health for their overall well-being, but also as a bottom line for the business.

 

How to create a workplace that promotes good mental health

 

Employers should ensure that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to identify employees who are struggling with their mental health, and how to support them. As well as feeling confident and competent to have sensitive conversations with employees about mental health.

How to create a work environment that provides support for mental health:

 

Create an open communication culture

 

One of the most critical aspects of building a supportive environment is creating a space where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health. This can be achieved by promoting open communication in all aspects of work. By having an open and honest approach to most tasks in the workplace, your employees will feel as though they can discuss a range of topics with you.

 

Familiarise yourself with the signs of mental health struggles

 

Managers and supervisors should be trained in recognising when an employee is struggling, in any capacity, but especially with their mental health. Signs could include changes in behaviour,  increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and mood swings. By understanding your employees and changes in the way they present themselves at work, issues can be identified and resolved quickly. Allowing managers to intervene and provide support early on, possibly reducing the impact on the individual and the rest of the team.

 

Provide support and resources

 

Businesses can support employees by offering mental health resources such as counselling, mental health days and employee assistance programmes (EAPs). These resources can assist employees in managing their mental health and provide a safe space for them to discuss their concerns. Many businesses also look at occupational therapy options which allow employees to discuss their issues in a safe and comfortable environment.

 

Minimise workplace stress

 

Stress is one of the primary causes of mental health problems in the workplace. Businesses can reduce workplace stress by providing training and resources to help employees manage their workload and prioritise their tasks. Employers can also offer flexible work arrangements such as remote work options to help employees manage their work-life balance.

 

Lead by example

 

Managers and supervisors play a vital role in establishing a mentally healthy workplace. It is essential that they lead by example by prioritising their own mental health and creating a supportive working environment. Managers should be aware of the impact their behaviour has on their employees and be willing to make changes if necessary.

 

Management Referrals

 

At Acorn Occupational Health, we offer a Management Referral Service that can assist in supporting employees with mental health problems. The service enables managers to refer employees with mental health concerns to our team. Once referred, our team of qualified and experienced occupational health professionals will provide an assessment.

Once the individual has been assessed, any relevant support and guidance will be suggested to help employees. Ensuring that there is a collaborative approach to managing mental health in the workplace.

 

Contact Us

 

Acorn Occupational Health understands that mental health is an important consideration for businesses up and down the UK. If you’d like to know more about how we can support your business, please get in touch. Visit our FAQs page, call us at 01260 277797, or email us at website@acornoh.co.uk

Want to know more about the Occupational Health services we provide at Acorn, and how they could benefit your business and your employees? Please get in touch.