Unleash the power of conversation in a positive, proactive way
Time to Talk Day (1st February) provides a great opportunity to start much-needed mental health conversations in the workplace.
Created by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, this vital awareness day encourages us to speak openly and honestly about our mental health. From struggling with loneliness and depression to dealing with loss and trauma, Time to Talk Day harnesses the power of conversation to help end stigma around mental suffering – which can sometimes save lives.
But why bring these conversations into the workplace?
Considering that poor mental health accounts for more than half of all work-related illnesses, and with 9% of professionals experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, the workplace offers an ideal setting to encourage open discussion. Fail to do so, and the costs will soon add up. That’s because absence caused by depression, stress, and anxiety is impacting UK businesses to the sum of £6 billion per year.
Now you know why it’s so important to get talking about mental health in the workplace, let’s discuss how you can tackle these delicate - and sometimes difficult - conversations…
Create a culture of continuous support- It’s important to establish a culture of openness and understanding so that your people feel comfortable discussing any mental health concerns. If staff feel they are working within a safe space free from judgement or negative repercussions, they will be far more likely to reach out for support before mental health concerns escalate and impact their performance.
Try dedicating 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 zone and that any information shared within its walls will not be passed on to management. This will show your employees that there is no stigma attached to conversations of this nature.
Know the signs of mental health struggles – While you might be making every effort to send a clear message of compassion in your workplace, not everyone will feel comfortable reaching out when they need support. That’s why it’s vital to maintain awareness of your people’s wellbeing and watch out for any areas of concern. This could include:
Changes in mood or behaviour
Appearing tired, anxious, or irritable
Developing unhealthy habits
Dips in performance
Poor problem-solving skills
Negative feedback from other employees
If you’ve spotted 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 to mental health support. As such, you should:
Tailor your support based on the individual – By implementing a dedicated support solution such as Vivup’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), you can adapt your mental health provision to be as unique as your people are. You just need to be sure that you’re communicating the support available in an effective way to let staff know help is there for all of life’s challenges.
With downloadable resources and self-help workbooks for a range 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.
Equip managers to address mental health concerns – By empowering your 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 solution-focused way.
Enlist line managers as role models and arm them with the relevant training to signpost employees to further assistance. You should also ensure that your managers play an active role in keeping staff engaged with their wellbeing provision through regular communication and conversations.
Educate your workforce – However effective and all-encompassing your EAP may be, it serves no purpose if your people don’t know it’s there. Share resources regularly, raise awareness internally, and promote company-wide education around 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 environment that will reward them for being honest about their mental health – and not shame them if they’re struggling.
Keep the conversation going – Time to Talk Day gives us a great springboard to start important conversations, but there’s no need to stop talking once the day has passed. Keep the conversation going all year round by hosting group talking sessions, mindfulness activities, workshops, and wellbeing days to ensure that the subject of mental health becomes ingrained into the core of your company culture.
As a leading employee benefits provider, we deliver a holistic 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 more than 2.5 million 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, be sure to get in touch. Give our friendly team a call on 01252 784540, or email email@example.com to request a platform demo.