Here are 5 top ways to help staff with their mental health in the workplace:
- Inform staff about types of workplace mental health issues.
- Provide staff with a safe way to discuss workplace mental health concerns.
- Inform staff about ways to get help with mental health concerns.
- Provide forums to discuss reasonable adjustments.
- Encourage regular positive workplace mental health discussion.
These are recommended operational activities that form part of the organisational framework for staff and workplace mental health.
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5 Tips for Workplace Mental Health
1) Inform staff about types of workplace mental health issues.
Staff may not be aware of the positive and negative signs relating to their mental health.
Staff also may not know about, or not understand, the mental health conditions that are associated with various symptoms.
Structured training and awareness campaigns can help staff gain help at an early stage, to help avoid more serious or emergency situations.
2) Provide staff with a safe way to discuss workplace mental health concerns.
When staff are unable to discuss potential concerns, those stresses and pressures can build up.
This “bottling up” issue is behind many of the cases of “silent quitters”, when good staff may leave your organisation because they don’t know how to discuss what is causing them problems.
It is important to gain feedback from staff about what that safe environment is.
Ironically, staff may not feel comfortable talking directly to the people who may be best placed to help, such as managers or HR colleagues.
Assessments or feedback tools, which may be anonymous, can also help staff to air concerns.
3) Inform staff about ways to get help with mental health concerns.
Provide easy access information about ways that staff can get help, for both minor and major issues.
Remind staff that the workplace mental health information is available, and where it is located.
Speak with staff about the information available, and collect any frequently asked questions.
You may staff avoiding using available services because of unfounded concerns around additional costs associated with engaging EAP, whether it will change their premiums, whether their doctor will be informed, or whether it will go on their medical record.
4) Provide forums to discuss reasonable adjustments.
Seek feedback from staff about opportunities to improve workplace mental health.
Rather than making assumptions about what will help them perform better, ask them!
Avoid the temptation for the mental health forums to be a dumping ground, where staff delegate all responsibility to the company, and then blame the company when their concerns haven’t been addressed.
Allow staff to be responsible for their own initiatives, generating business cases, and overseeing enhancements.
5) Encourage regular positive workplace mental health discussion.
It’s easy to keep driving a car without getting a service. But there’s a good chance that the car is going to break down at some point.
It’s the same with workplace mental health.
People can keep working and working, without taking a step back to check their mental health and that they are OK.
Prompting staff with reminders to consider their mental health may provide them with a chance to realise their mental health isn’t where it should be, and to make an earlier intervention that helps everyone involved.
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