Skip to content

Inspire conversation and change this Time to Talk Day

Sinead Murphy Feb 2, 2023 10:47:36 AM

How to normalise mental health conversations in the workplace in a positive, proactive way  

With 2nd February marking Time to Talk Day, there’s never been a better opportunity to start much-needed mental health conversations in the workplace.

Established by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, Time to Talk Day encourages individuals and communities to come together and speak openly about their mental health. From struggling with anxiety and depression to dealing with personal loss and bereavement, Time to Talk Day harnesses the power of conversation to help end the stigma around mental suffering – and ultimately, save lives.  

But, is it really necessary to bring these conversations into the workplace?  

Considering the notion that one in six people of working age will experience a mental health concern, and with 79% of employees reported to have taken a stress-related absence in 2022 alone, it would seem that the workplace is in fact the perfect setting to encourage discussions around mental wellbeing. Failure to do so could soon add up, as sickness absence caused by depression, stress, and anxiety is costing UK businesses as much as £6 billion per year – a staggering 25% increase from 2019.  

So, now you know why it’s so important to get talking about mental health in the workplace, let’s discuss how you should go about tackling these often delicate and difficult conversations… 


Create a culture of continuous support 

It’s important to establish a company culture of openness and understanding so that your employees feel comfortable discussing any mental health concerns with their peers and managers. If your people feel that they are working within a safe space in which they are able to share thoughts and express concerns freely and without judgement or negative repercussions, they will be far more likely to reach out for support before mental health concerns escalate and impact their workplace performance.  

To get started in the right direction, why not dedicate a private space within your organisation for employees to speak openly and honestly about their mental health? Reassure your people that this is a confidential space and that any information shared within it will not be passed on to management, as this shows your employees that there is no stigma attached to conversations of this nature.  


Know the signs of a mental health concern 

While you might be making every effort to send a clear message of understanding and acceptance in your workplace, not everyone will be forthcoming in reaching out when they need support. That’s why it’s vital to maintain awareness of your people’s wellbeing and be vigilant for any areas of concern, such as:  

  • Changes in mood or behaviour, such as a member of staff becoming withdrawn, appearing tired, anxious, irritable, or picking up unhealthy habits  
  • Dips in work performance 
  • Disorganisation 
  • Poor problem solving skills  
  • Negative feedback from other employees  

If you’ve identified these changes in an employee, you can offer them support in a private, reassuring way. But remember – there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to employee mental health support…  


Adapt your support based on the individual

By implementing a dedicated support solution such as Vivup’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), you can tailor your mental health provision to be as unique as your workforce is. You just need to ensure that you’re communicating its virtues in an effective way so that your staff know it’s there for all of life’s ups and downs. With a huge range of downloadable resources and self-help workbooks for a spectrum of mental health concerns (including bereavement, anxiety, depression, addiction, and more), you can signpost your people to the appropriate support based on their individual needs.  


Train managers to address employee mental health concerns

By empowering your line managers to talk openly and confidently with employees about their mental health, you can give them the skills and tools to spot symptoms and lead important conversations in a proactive, solution-focused way.  

Enlist line managers as role models and arm them with the relevant training and information to signpost employers to further assistance. You should also ensure that your line mangers are playing an active role in keeping your people engaged with their wellbeing provision through regular communication and information sharing.   


Educate your people

As we’ve already mentioned, there’s no point in having a mental health support solution if your people don’t know it’s available to them. That’s why it’s so important to share resources regularly, raise awareness internally, and promote company-wide education of how to access and utilise this support. If conversations around mental wellbeing are happening constantly, your people will feel reassured that they are in a safe, nurturing environment that will reward them for being honest about their mental health – and not penalise them if they are struggling.  


Don’t confine mental health conversations to awareness days

While Time to Talk Day provides a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of speaking openly about mental health, there’s no need to limit your observance of these initiatives to a single day, week, or month. Keep the conversation going all year round by hosting group talking/walking sessions, mindfulness activities, workshops, wellbeing days, and gratitude challenges to ensure that mental health becomes ingrained into the very fabric of your company culture.  


About Vivup  

As a leading employee benefits provider, we deliver an all-encompassing employee engagement platform that connects workforces and boosts staff wellbeing.   

We’re on a mission to help employers win the war on talent, and we achieve this by delivering comprehensive health and wellbeing packages to over 450 public and private sector organisations across the UK. We currently support nearly 2,000,000 employees to manage their mental, physical, and financial wellbeing both in and out of the workplace.  


Get in Touch Today  

To learn more about how Vivup can help you address wellbeing challenges in your organisation in a cost-effective way, be sure to get in touch today. Give our friendly team a call on 01252 784540, or email to request a platform demo.    



Ten workplace mental health statistics you should know in 2022 · MHFA England 

Health and wellbeing at work 2021: survey report ( 

Mental health at work ( 

21 Mental Health Awareness Month Activities for the Workplace (