We all have mental health – it moves up and down from good to poor and it’s affected by a range of factors both in and out of work. Looking after our own mental health is the key to helping others.
Starting a conversation about it doesn’t have to be difficult and there are some simple things you can do to effectively support your staff and increase employee engagement, motivation and productivity. It’s important when supporting someone with poor mental health, to understand our own limits of responsibility and our duty as an employer or manager.
Here’s some things you should do to help promote good mental health in your workplace.
Know Your limits
Remember it is the responsibility of us all as individuals to take care of our own mental health. Whilst we can offer support to others, we cannot “solve” their problems, nor can we be responsible for any actions taken by someone suffering from poor mental health.
Send a clear signal to your staff that mental health matters.
Let people know that being open about mental health challenges will lead to support not punishment or discrimination. It needs to be treated in the same way as physical health. A workplace policy can help to describe what resources are available and how your employees can access them.
Encourage People to talk
In general people can find it difficult to talk about their mental health and it’s still a fairly taboo subject in many industries and cultures. Ask simple and open non judgmental questions about how people are feeling, how their mental health affects them and how it impacts on their work.
Treat everyone as an individual
Everyone’s experience of a mental health problem is different so treat people as individuals – focus on the person not the problem. Adapt your support to suit the individual and encourage them to come up with with their own solutions including deciding on external support or suggesting workplace adjustments.
Address other issues honestly
Poor mental health can often be the cause of poor performance or absence in the workplace but it’s still appropriate and important to address these with the person concerned as soon as possible. Make sure people know your expectations despite their current difficulties.
Encourage people to seek advice and support
People should speak to their GP about available support, or can be signposted to other support which might be available in your area or via any workplace health policies you have.
Finally, check back in – keep asking “how are you feeling today”? “How’s your mood?” “What’s affecting you in your work”? . By making conversation about mental health the norm we can help others to recognise poor mental health and in turn, to help themselves.
If you’d like more information on managing mental health or anything else people related, do get in touch via the usual channels.