How to Manage Employee Mental Health at Work

Managing employee mental health during the pandemic has become more important, and more difficult. Employers have a duty of care towards their employees, and that includes their mental health and wellbeing.

Socially Recruited polled over 1,000 employees about whether they felt that their employers took this responsibility seriously.

“Following World Mental Health Day, do you feel your workplace offers adequate mental health support?”

Yes – 35%

No – 65%

The results showed that the majority (65%), felt that their employers were not providing adequate support for mental health within the workplace.

Managing and supporting mental health at work 

The Mental Health Foundation has provided a helpful document about How To Support Mental Health At Work. This outlines some of the issues that employers may face with managing employee mental health.

Employees who have or have had mental health problems, add a value of £225 billion per year (12.1% of the UK’s total GDP). This shows that employees suffering from mental health problems are big contributors and can continue to be so, as long as appropriate support is in place to allow this.

Good employee mental health at work and good management are linked. Evidence suggests that workplaces with good mental wellbeing are more productive by up to 12%.

Mental Health Law and Policy

Employees with ongoing mental health problems will meet the definition of disability in the Equality Act (2010) in England, Scotland and Wales, and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) in Northern Ireland.

This means people with mental health problems are protected from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. They are also entitled to reasonable adjustments to adapt to their job or work.

Mind defines reasonable adjustments as changes that organisations and people providing services or public functions have to make for you if your disability puts you at a disadvantage compared with others who are not disabled.

Examples of reasonable adjustments include:

  • Changing the times of events
  • Changing the place where services are to be delivered
  • Arranging advocate support
  • Allowing further time for a face-to-face interview
  • Offering clear and written information

Whether or not the change is reasonable will depend on:

  1. The type of service/public function the organisation provides
  2. The size of the organisation and what resources it has

Mental health at work statistics 

The statistics show how bad the mental health crisis has become. Employers are facing fresh challenges daily when it comes to managing employee mental health.

The pandemic has also harmed many, regardless of whether they have struggled previously with mental health problems. With the rise of remote working, feelings of isolation and uncertainty now is the time for employers to make sure they are providing appropriate support.

  • 35% of employees describe their mental health at work as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. The prospect of returning to work is causing real anxiety (Mind)
  • 43% of employees said their general mental health has deteriorated since Covid-19, rising to 52% for those with existing mental health issues (Chartered Institute for Professional Development (CIPD)
  • 9 in 10 employers are worried about the impact the pandemic has had on employee mental health (Cambridge Network)

Employer Examples

During the Socially Recruited poll on mental health, employees commented on some of the good, or bad, things that their companies did.

Some employees were quick to sing their employers praises.

“My company gave me compassionate leave when my dog died. I needed that. I was told to take as long as I need”.

Another company has been accused of not taking mental health issues seriously. The employee complained about ongoing issues with HR which further added to her stress at an already vulnerable time. The employee went so far as to brand the HR manager as a “bully and a liar”.

There was a stark contrast in the experiences different employees were having, but what they had in common was that they were happy to share their experiences on social media.

Employers must manage the mental health of their employees, not only as it is morally right, but also to protect their employer brand. Employees are likely to share their opinions (good or bad) on social media and by word of mouth. You want your mental health policies and awareness to boost your employer brand, not hinder it.

Mindful Employers and Mental Health Training

Many organisations can help employers who wish to improve their mental health offering to their employees.

Mindful Employer is a UK initiative run to provide employers with easy access to mental health training, information, and advice. It is run by NHS Devon Partnership Trust to empower organisations to take the lead in supporting their employee’s mental health. This initiative is supported by an advisory group of employers from private, voluntary, and public sectors. It has been created by employers, for employers.

MentalHealthRecruitment.org is a collected group of people within the Recruitment industry who want to see improvement in the support given to businesses looking to incorporate mental wellness into their strategy. The aim is to remove discrimination and normalise behaviour and action around mental health in the industry.

Their resources cover areas from tech solutions, coaching, mental health first aid training, practical action plans and wellbeing strategy.

Final Thoughts

It is in an organisations interest to look after the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Both from a moral and financial viewpoint.

1 in 6 employees will experience mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, or stress. It can stop employees from performing at their best.

Mind offers a Workplace Wellbeing Index, which is a benchmark of best policy and practice. It can be a good way to gain public recognition for all the work already being done in the organisation, to get access to support and to find out what your employees think about how you support their mental health.

If you are an employer looking to attract and retain committed employees, then prioritising their mental health should be top of the list.

 If you want to know more…

Socially Recruited has worked with thousands of different businesses across the UK and overseas. Businesses must have access to advice and support at these challenging times.

For further information or to trial the service, please contact Marc on the details below.

Marc Voigt

Social Media and Recruitment Specialist

0203 327 0304

marc@sociallyrecruited.com

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