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Nov 18 2019 9 mins  
What can you do about mental health in your workplace?
Mental ill-health could be one of the biggest issues to face businesses today, therefore promoting positive mental health is very important. one in four people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health issue over the course of any given year.
Leaders are not exempt from MH -
At LAMBERT, we have found, that its not just employees that are struggling, it is the business leaders too -therefore our programs help employers support themselves and their employees too.
A study by BUPA (2018) confirmed that 68% of business owners themselves suffer from mental ill health. As such, at LAMBERT we encourage leaders to address their own wellbeing as we help their employees i.e. we have them participate in the program too and get them to put in place clear policies and processes to support their whole org.
A ‘Mind study’ found that 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing, but don't feel they have the right training or guidance. This is why we do what we do.
‘Culture of fear’ -
Similarly, the research undertaken by ‘MIND’ confirmed how a ‘culture of fear’ and silence around mental health is very costly to employers:
· More than one in five (21 per cent), when asked how workplace stress had affected them agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work
· 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them and 14 per cent stated that they had already resigned
· sadly 30 per cent of staff said that they would not feel able to talk openly with their line manager if they were feeling stressed’
‘Culture of silence’ -
To help everyone achieve their full potential within an organisation, there are certain areas that need to be addressed -especially around the link of mental ill health and career progression. As this could be contributing to a ‘culture of silence’ -around mental ill health itself.
Equality -
So, there’s currently no discrimintation against age/gender/ethnicity/disability/sexual orientation but this needs to be the case for mental health history too. Throughout our wellness programs, we assess employees, and often find that their perceptions of unequal access to career progression opportunities were attributed to mental health -and likewise this affected their chance of being selected for a job.
Based on everything iv’e just previously mentioned, employers are now realising that they ‘need to do more’ to promote a mentally healthy workplace, because even if you don’t struggle with mental ill health personally, you’ll likely know at least one person who will. The no’s are high -& climbing.
When we implement wellness programs for organisations, we find that those struggling with mental ill health is mainly due to BOTH a ‘personal’ and a ‘professional’ standpoint. That’s why our work-life programs are so successful, and creating awareness is key -but there is always more that can be done. That’s why we get businesses to put support mechanisms in place to help, so that they can promote mentally healthy workplaces.
Advances in technology (create a balance with mental health at work and at home) -
It’s no surprise that we are an ‘always on’ culture, and as easy as it is to say ‘have a good work-life balance’ – it is harder to achieve AND ‘more than ever before’. This all has an impact on wellbeing and mental health. So, where you wud implement a nutritional detox, a digital detox is just as important -but perhaps on a more regular basis. For e.g. having a ‘no phone Friday’ or for banning the whole org from accessing work emails after working hours or during the weekend etc. What do you do now ref tech?
Most of us juggle family and other commitments on an evening and at the weekend, so grounding yourself with them is key to optimal WB - except that work-life balance means different things to each person.
How do you look after your business AND your employees? -
If you are struggling with mental ill health, you need to reach out because mental health is an essential aspect of overall wellness, a vital pillar. It must be looked after, but the most common mistake/downfall is people being afraid to ask for help. LAMBERT puts the business AND employee needs at the heart of our programs.
The issue of MH is almost always linked to work i.e. either directly causing it, or because employees feel it is impacting upon their performance – communication is key - so talking to each other is a must (talking things through with managers or HR can help) – LAMBERT helps businesses to put steps in place for support purposes.
Preventing things escalating is of paramount importance – do you have a plan in your org to tackle MH issues? We should all be aware of the wellbeing of those around us -full stop.
Listening to your colleagues, friends and family - asking them how they are but just listen to what they ‘actually’ say. As a leader, raising awareness of the resources and information that’s available is key, and signposting them to specific advice is a business priority.
From researching our own programs, we make sure that business leaders have the knowledge they need, so they can drive ‘change’ in this area. Most business leaders’ goals are to drive productivity, but they need to have a mentally healthy workforce to achieve this. So, what can your organisation do to facilitate a mentally healthy workplace?