Mental health in the workplace – what to look out for and how to deal with it!

With World Mental Health Day being held earlier this week, we wondered what you and your business know about the illness and if you currently offer your colleagues any wellbeing support? The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day was “psychological and mental health first aid for all” so we wanted to spread the word to help create a safer, healthier and more productive work environment for everyone!

Mental ill health is extremely common in the workplace. In fact 1 in 4 people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Mental health problems cost employers in the UK around £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence – so why aren’t we doing more about it? Do you know what warning signs to look for in your staff and what to do if you notice any?

The first sign to look out for is increased sickness absence. The total number of working days lost due to work-related stress or depression in 2014/15 was 9.9 million days and stress accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.

Other common warning signs include:-

  • Changes in an employee’s behaviour (physically or emotionally)
  • Repeated errors in an employees work including missing deadlines and forgetting tasks
  • Members of staff working too many hours and hardly taking a break/holiday
  • A usually punctual employee starting to arrive for work late
  • Staff complaining about lack of management support or a gruelling workload

A study has shown the main factors to cause work related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures, tight deadlines, too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.

The first thing to do if you have concerns about an employee is to reassure them your door is always open and MEAN IT. Talk to them, listen to what they have to say and offer your support. Try to understand how they are feeling – be sympathetic, professional and confidential. Show them that you care and follow up with them on a regular basis to review their progress.

Look at what changes you can make to their role or what additional support other members of staff couldmind

give them. Are you putting too much on them or giving them unrealistic deadlines? Do they have the right skills and resources to carry out the job? Would they benefit from some extra training – this could be skills based or “time management” training, as an example.

Finally, does the employee feel motivated and happy in their role? Are you supporting their work and recognising achievements. Rewarding staff can work really well …..Employee of the Month is always a good one. You staff need to feel loved and wanted, they need to be coming into work feeling happy and wanting to succeed.

If you consider that we need to use our minds to work effectively, productively and creatively then it is essential that our minds are cared for, functioning and able to perform at their very best! If you need any further information about this sensitive topic, please get in touch with our Specialist Recruitment Team or visit the Mind website:-