This is a subject on which small employers are often unsure on how to support their staff.

Ignoring it or hoping it sorts itself out is not the solution.

To help, here are some tips and information.

1. Mental health can affect anyone

Most people have heard that one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. As with physical health, everyone has the capacity to develop the issue at any time, just like anyone can break their ankle on their way to work or be hit by that nasty bug that seems to go around every winter. Most of us will know how to respond to these situations without confusion or fear of offending; however, there is a sizeable gap in our understanding when someone experiences panic attacks or symptoms of depression, or even if they just feel that they’re not handling things as well as they would normally.

2. Mental health conversations benefit everyone

If we consider that everyone has mental health, then a positive and open attitude towards it would be of benefit to all, whether they are the one in four UK people that Mind estimates suffer from mental health problems in a year or the three out of four that don’t. Even when it is not an employee who is suffering from mental health issues, it may be someone in their family or a close friend, so they could still be bearing a significant burden and would benefit from support, especially in the workplace where the wellbeing, and therefore performance and productivity, of employees are key considerations.
If we carry the notion that mental health is a topic for all, promoting openness around mental wellbeing could theoretically go a long way to ensuring that the whole organisation benefits from a cohesive and joined-up strategy, often contributing to the development of the wider cultural agenda for the organisation.

3. Mental health conversations are not just for managers

It has been clearly established that promoting openness around mental health in the workplace can contribute to the wider diversity and cultural objectives of organisations. However, if there is a benefit for individuals to talk about mental health, it shouldn’t just fall to managers to start conversations with their teams. While the wellbeing of staff is obviously key for managers, it’s a task for everyone to ensure that anyone who finds themselves with a mental health issue is also supported by their peers and colleagues. The more understanding everyone has, the more opportunities individuals have to open up about their mental health at a more informal level.

4. Having the conversation

Despite attitudes improving over the last few years, mental health is still something that carries a certain stigma fuelled by people’s misunderstanding, fear and the innocent notion that it “may not happen to them”. The more we educate and talk about mental health at all stages, the easier we will find it to encourage openness, start conversations and develop engaged and productive workplaces.

If you want to know more, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01924 441032 or