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30 Nov 2022
by Clare Price

Mental health is not black and white - don't treat it as such

A one-size-fits-all policy won't work – instead, be flexible, give employees the support and tools they need and listen

Mental health is not black and white - don't treat it as such.jpg 1


Mental health is not black and white, it is a grey area. That is why there is no one-size-fits-all-policy for the workplace.

Every day, businesses take individual steps to manage their daily operations, and giving the same care and attention to implementing mental health support for employees pays dividends.

People are complex. Everyone manages their work loads and balances their personal lives differently. People prefer different methods of communication, and showcase their strengths in different ways.

That is why it is important for business leaders to recognise that no two people are the same and that it is vitally important all employees have access to a menu of support when they are worried about their mental health.

How can businesses create procedures and levels of support to fit their employees and their businesses?

For businesses to implement credible mental health support that their employees believe in, it is important for business leaders to champion and endorse it.

By leading from the top and talking about their own mental health, business leaders and managers can cement a caring and trusting culture which, in turn, will encourage colleagues to speak out and seek help when required.

Prevention is key

Conversations can help identify underlying issues and concerns that employees have about mental health and help you to gain a greater understanding of the support they may need.

Everyone within an organisation is responsible for creating a culture that cares about others.

Encourage teams to stay connected and host regular check-ins which are conversational and relaxed, giving employees the opportunity to talk about their work/life balance and anything that they may be finding challenging.

This can help team leaders see when someone is feeling overstretched at work and help them to manage their workload and work/life balance.

Take a flexible approach

Your employees will all have different ways of working and different ways of dealing with challenge. If an employee feels like they aren’t coping with their workload, they are stressed or burned out and need changes to their work or role, it can help if managers are as flexible as possible to help keep the person in work.

Look at what modifications can be considered in relation to someone’s role, such as adjusting hours, workload, tactics, breaks, or perhaps providing an employee with a mentor.

Encourage self-care

Mental healthcare in the workplace is important. However, it is also necessary to encourage individuals to look after their own mental health and encourage them to speak up.

Top tips for managing your own mental health at work:

  • Prioritise tasks
  • Set yourself reasonable deadlines
  • Leave on time and take regular breaks
  • Exercise
  • Stay hydrated and eat well
  • Provide space for strength-based learning
  • Focus on what you love about your job
  • Think about what type of person you want to be at work

Ensure employees know how to find help

Signpost people to a mental health first aider in your organisation or an employee assistance programme if you have one.

Perhaps look to integrate a page on your intranet or employee communications system about how people can access national support – such as NHS Mental Health, Mind, Samaritans. Check that the organisations are credible and based on evidenced-based solutions.

Ensure all employees are aware of the support available. Putting practical and easy to understand steps in place will act as a signpost for your team and ensure that everyone knows who they can reach out to.

Business leaders should not try to solve something that doesn’t need to be solved, instead perhaps shift your focus into creating a workplace culture which can be adapted to help all your employees.

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In partnership with Onebright Mental Health

Onebright is a personalised on-demand mental healthcare company.

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