Making mental health the hero

Creating a great employee experience means reviewing every aspect of the workplace, including how you support wellbeing and mental health

Oct 9, 2018 | Feature

Let’s start with the facts

million workdays...

 are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK. That’s a cost to employers of approximately £2.4 billion per year.

One in four people in the UK will suffer from a mental health problem within the space of a year.

One in three sick notes’ handed out by GPs are for mental health problems.

In this reality, mental health needs to be put front and centre by organisations, regardless of their size. So what can you do?

Involve everyone

The mental health charity Time to Change created this video, which shows how difficult it can be to talk about mental health.

The idea of #asktwice is simple. Sometimes someone will say they’re fine when they’re not. Asking them once more gives them a real opportunity to open up.  

You can try to bring some of this ideology into the workplace by putting mental health on everyone’s radar. Mental health problems do not discriminate. Anyone from the CEO to a front-of-house employee can suffer. In fact, it’s estimated that one in six people in the past week have experienced a common mental health problem. 

Communications have a massive part to play here. Include a tip of the week in your newsletter, host a wellbeing month and stuff it full of awareness events. Weave mental health wellbeing into your communications, and it will start to be a part of your company culture.    

Build a support network

Companies can provide support in a variety of ways for employees who suffer with mental health problems. Employee Assistance Programmes, on-call GPs and anonymous helplines are all options.

However, if people don’t know where to go for help, chances are, they won’t ask for direction.

Line managers are the key to changing the mental health culture at your company. Yet less than half of employees say they would feel able to talk openly with their line manager if they were suffering from stress. Resolving this should be a priority.

Mental Health First Aid is an educational course, helping managers to recognise and understand mental health problems. This will help line managers start the conversations, instead of leaving colleagues in the position of having to ask. You could create an online managers’ toolkit to support this too – equipping them for conversations, and knowing where to direct colleagues for help.

Invest in wellbeing

The reality is that people spend a large chunk of their time at work, and they need to feel looked after when they’re there. In fact, there’s a genuine business benefit to putting wellbeing first.

The Harvard Business Review found that positive wellbeing leads to a 31% increase in productivity, and sales increase by 37%. There are also reports of increased innovation and customer satisfaction linked to wellbeing.

Of course, there are different types of wellbeing to think about, such as financial and physical, and they all tie together. A good approach is combining them all, but mental health is a great place to start.

Making mental health wellbeing part of the employee experience means happier, healthier employees contributing to the success of your business.

You may also like…

Cyber Security

With millions of people around the UK working from home it’s no surprise that we’ve been online more than normal. According to infosecurity magazine in April, there was an overall Internet usage increase of 17%. From Zoom calls for work to FaceTime with friends, people are getting better acquainted with the virtual world.

We see IC Allison Cary

In the second of our series, we caught up with Allison Cary, Internal Communications Lead at Voyage Care, about the ever-evolving role of internal communications in Social Care.

Tone of Voice

COVID-19 has highlighted many things. The British public love banana bread, toilet rolls don’t grow on trees, and how you say something is as important as what you’re saying.

We See IC

Welcome to the first in a series where we grab a cuppa and settle in for a virtual chat with some amazing IC experts.

We caught up with Jen Lock, Senior Internal Communications Manager at Direct Line Group, on all things communications and COVID-19.

Return to the workplace

Internal comms teams will be pivotal in the gradual move back to some sort of workplace ‘normality’. Here are our key points to consider as you start that journey.

That’s the spirit!

Maybe it’s a particular British thing, but we love a good wartime metaphor. When our ‘backs are against the wall’, facing ‘our darkest hour’ us plucky Brits come out fighting.

As we battle with this horrible virus the tone of the national conversation is full of 1940’s references, harking back to a time when we collectively stood together, shoulder to shoulder to beat the forces of evil by keeping calm and carrying on.

World Sleep Day

Friday 13 March is World Sleep Day – yes, it’s a thing.

With the average person spending a third of their lives asleep, it’s fair to say that sleep is instrumental for our overall wellbeing – physically and mentally.

Love what you do

Work is about so much more than just the job you do On the face of it, entering awards can cost both time and money, so it’s easy to talk yourself out of it. But in reality, entering – and winning – awards is great for business on many levels. Here’s why it’s more...

Banish Blue Monday

The third Monday in January has been officially dubbed ‘Blue Monday’. It’s classed as the most depressing day of the year. Many people’s resolutions have fallen off a cliff, the longer month is taking its toll on people’s finances and the weather is dreary. On top of that, there’s work.

January is the time that people often take stock of their careers and the job-hopping begins. Here are a few ideas to engage your employees right from the off this year…

Hello 2020

Happy New Year! On the face of it, entering awards can cost both time and money, so it’s easy to talk yourself out of it. But in reality, entering – and winning – awards is great for business on many levels. Here’s why it’s more than just an accolade. Measure for...