The nation’s mental health is at a critical level. During lockdown in 2020, 60% of adults said that their mental health had worsened. On top of this, over half of UK employers have reported an increase in common mental health conditions over the last year.
For a small business, the impact of poor mental health can be huge. Mental ill health is the leading cause of long-term sickness absence for almost three-fifths of organisations. And on average, almost 22 working days are lost each year due to people suffering from stress, depression or anxiety.
With many constraints on your time and budgets, it might also be a challenge to find resources to help. That’s why we’ve put together this list to assist you in supporting your employees’ mental health. These suggestions are intended to inform and inspire your journey, whether you are just starting out or you already have strategies in place.
- A comprehensive guide
For a complete, easy-to-digest guide covering all aspects of mental health in the workplace, visit the CIPD mental health factsheet. It looks at employment law around mental health, studies the workplace impact of the pandemic and suggests how businesses can make mental health an integrated part of employee wellbeing.
- Mental health during the pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic adds a complex layer to mental health. You might find employees experiencing poor mental health as they face a wide range of issues, many for the first time, due to unprecedented challenges. Mind, the mental health charity has designed a practical guide to help organisations tailor their existing workplace initiatives to better support employee mental health through the pandemic.
- Help for managers
Managers are often the first to notice when someone is struggling with mental health. Training line managers in how to handle mental health concerns and making sure they know where to direct people for further support, is absolutely crucial. This guide for line managers by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) talks about promoting wellbeing, spotting early warning signs of problems, and helping people return to work.
- Stress in the workplace
Stress-related absence is on the rise. Alarmingly, a third of organisations who have observed an increase, are not taking any steps to address it2. Factors behind stress at work include workload, management style, and relationships at work2. MHFA have produced a great toolkit entitled ‘Address Your Stress’ which includes a range of resources and practical tips to manage stress at work.
- Reducing stigma
If everyone in a workplace understands that talking about mental health is acceptable and willingly asks ‘how are you?’ then you’re halfway there. ‘Time to Change’ aims to end mental health discrimination in the workplace and provides a number of customisable resources to support mental health campaigning including posters, email signatures and social media posts.
- Promoting positive mental health
Mental health promotion is an important part of any mental health strategy, making sure everyone knows what help is available and how it can be used. This ACAS guide to promoting positive mental health in the workplace suggests how to create a mental health policy, how to improve the workplace and ways to educate the workforce on this critical topic.
- Specifically for smaller businesses
Supporting employee mental health can be a real challenge for smaller businesses. While you may be conscious of this as a priority, there are often budget or resource constraints. The Federation of Small Businesses provides an informative guide to mental wellbeing offering valuable tips and advice on how to approach mental health in the workplace.
Take a look at our mental health resources and find out how Simplyhealth can support your small business with health and wellbeing.