More than ever, mental health is a topic of open discussion in the media, in our social circles, and certainly in the workplace. Mental health and well-being is about how we think, feel and behave, and is usually caused by reactions to difficult life events, which can be caused or exacerbated by work-related problems. In particular, working in isolation away from managers and colleagues can add stress to a workforce that is already under significant pressure.
Globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression, one of the leading causes of disability, with many of these people also suffering from symptoms of anxiety.
A recent World Health Organization (WHO)-led study estimated that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year due to lost productivity.
Health and Safety Executive England (HSE) reported that 12.8 million workdays were lost due to stress, depression or anxiety during 2018-19. According to the mental health awareness charity Mind, around 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
Clearly, supporting employees to manage their own mental health and creating a work environment that allows all to thrive is a pressing issue for business leaders and health and safety managers.
Risks to mental health in the workplace
According to WHO, the following things can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems in the workplace:
- Inadequate health and safety policies
- Poor communication and management practices
- Limited participation in decision making or low control over one’s field of work
- Low level of support for employees
- Inflexible working hours
- Unclear organizational tasks or goals
Building a positive workplace mental health culture
Unfortunately the workplace can intensify pre-existing conditions and can produce symptoms or exacerbate their effects. Whether work is the cause of a health problem or intensifies an underlying problem, employers have a legal responsibility to assist their employers and provide adequate mental health and welfare support.
The position of the RoSPA on mental health in the workplace is to encourage employers to adopt a holistic approach to managing risks to the health, safety and welfare of their staff. There is also a need to increase the level of access employees have to appropriate occupational health services and support.
While this is well developed in many businesses, many workers, especially in many SMEs, still do not have access to trained or empowered occupational health professionals. The RoSPA series of mental health courses can help you manage this within your organization and build a workplace environment that supports those with mental health difficulties.
Mental Health Course
The first step is for leaders to understand the importance of promoting a supportive environment for their staff. All directors and managers should have some form of mental health and well-being training. Among the senior team in any organization, a good starting point is to have at least one person trained as a welfare coordinator.
The Workplace Welfare Coordinator course is suitable for all professional groups which can include; welfare leaders, health and safety practitioners, human resources professionals, senior managers, and staff who have been assigned corporate welfare.
To support and promote positive welfare programs, employees at all levels also need to be invested and a number of people trained to help support colleagues. Our Workplace Wellbeing Champion course teaches participants how effective communication can support health messages, to promote improvements in the health and well-being of others, and understand the impact of behavior change in improving individual health and well-being.
HSE states that it is recommended that if you work in a company with 5-50 workers, there should be at least one person who is trained in mental health first aid. You will then need first aid again for every 50 workers after that.
Our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training courses will teach your workers how to recognize the symptoms of mental health problems, as well as offer initial assistance and guide someone towards support. These courses are all about teaching you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis and potentially stop a crisis from happening.
Additionally, we offer several virtual mental health classroom services to address the mental well-being of employees working in isolation, remotely, or at home. Virtual class is an online learning environment that allows direct interaction between tutors and students as they participate in learning activities. In other words, a virtual classroom is a shared online space where students and tutors work together simultaneously.
Most importantly, it’s important to remember that we all have mental health that can fluctuate and change over time. It is unacceptable for any organization not to make adjustments to a person’s physical well-being, so the same goes for mental health and well-being. For more information and advice on our suite of mental health courses, please visit our website, contact us at +44 (0)121 248 2044 or e-mail.