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14 May 2024
by Kerri Mee

6 steps for creating a strategy to support mental health

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to mental health

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A proactive approach to workplace health and wellbeing including early intervention methods is an effective way to minimise potential harm to the mental health of your workforce.

Helping employees maintain their mental health is not only best HR practice, but it also leads to higher retention rate and allows employees to work at their best. Promoting good health and wellbeing also saves organisations money from sick leave, higher turnover and recruitment and training costs.

Addressing the emotional and psychological needs of an organisation is no small feat as each individual can experience their own complexities. Everyone communicates, manages their workload, and showcases their strengths in different ways.

It is vital that employees have access to a range of support and resources. Here are some strategies to help manage the mental health of your workforce.

1. Develop their skills

Taking steps in the prevention of poor mental health is much more effective than waiting until people become ill.

In troubling times, employers benefit from being equipped with the right skills to deal with illness or trauma.

Creating a ‘mental health at work’ plan is a great place to start. As well as developing mental health policies, mental health advice can be weaved through corporate strategies on sick leave and health & safety.

Training and awareness for all employees in mental health matters is vital. Businesses should strive to put employees first by having the right policies and training in place, and that the organisation is prepared to support mental health problems should they arise.

Often employees who feel that their employers are not taking their mental health seriously are more likely to leave.

2. Communicate and motivate

Employers need to be aware of and acknowledge the triggers of poor mental health in the workplace. Do employees work to tight deadlines and have little say over their work? This lack of control can have a negative impact on their mental health.

Working closely with employees to identify areas where they can make their own decisions and manage their time is a good initial step.

Good communication will address and prevent mental ill-health exacerbated by work, reduce absences and support employees with a mental health condition so they can thrive in a safe and trusted environment.

Managing stress, worry and uncertainty is extremely important. Regular company updates and check-ins will give employees the sense that they are not being left in the dark.

Good leaders motivate their teams and provide them with a sense of belonging. Creating a strong community is imperative to achieve this.

Does your team feel valued? Are you listening to their needs? By answering these questions, you will create a positive work atmosphere. An employee survey can also help get a sense of how well initiatives are working and how they could be improved while giving a sense of ownership of the company’s direction.

3. Set achievable goals

Not meeting expectations is a common issue in the workplace that can cause employees stress and disappointment.

Try to set objectives related to the job your team member does and are in their sphere of control.

Setting objectives that people believe can be achieved relieves stress, is motivating, and can increase general workforce satisfaction. Reward effectiveness rather than time worked.

4. Be flexible

Your employees will all have different ways of working and different ways of dealing with challenges.

If an employee feels like they aren’t coping with their workload, are stressed or need adaptations to their work, managers should be as flexible as possible so that they can best cater to the needs of thir employees.

Consider any modifications that can be made to your employee’s role, such as adjusting hours, workload, tactics, breaks, or perhaps providing a mentor.

5. Set boundaries

Work-life balance is essential for happy and productive employees, but it is imperative to have clear boundaries in place to achieve this.

Employees who are productive in the long-term are fuelled by regular breaks, self-care, and recreational time.

By clearly structuring the timing of your organisation’s working hours, with the inclusion of regular breaks and annual leave for everyone, you will help your employees find a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout.

6. Ensure employees know how to find help

Integrate a page on your internal system about how people can access your organisation’s mental health resources, as well as external resources such as NHS Mental Health.

Clearly signposting resources for your team will give everyone the ability to seek the support they need.

As a leader of any organisation, it is vital to look out for individuals who may need support with their mental health.

Providing training for your mental health first aiders with clinically led, expert advice will ensure you are able to support employees when they need help.

In partnership with Onebright

Onebright is a personalised on-demand mental healthcare company.

Contact us today