January can be a notoriously difficult month: the Christmas holidays are over, the days are short and the weather has us longing for summer. Even the infamous ‘Blue Monday’ (also known as ‘the most depressing day of the year’) happens in January, and this year it will fall on Monday 15th.
But if there’s one thing the January blues are good for, it’s raising awareness about mental health at work. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 12.7% of the UK’s sick days are down to mental health issues, so it’s in the interest of businesses big and small to provide mental health support in the workplace.
Do you want to know more? Here are 4 of the best ways to support your staff’s mental wellbeing.
1. Declare your commitment
The simplest way to create a positive atmosphere around issues of mental health is to make your intentions known.
Tell your staff – whether through posters, meetings or emails – that your business is keen to support the emotional wellbeing of all employees,
and that nobody should be afraid to come forward if they have a problem. A study by mental health charity Mind found that 30% of staff do not feel they can talk openly with their manager about stress, so making your support known is a crucial part of addressing this problem.
2. Create clear policies
Once your business has made this commitment, you will need some policies to back it up. These could include scheduling regular one-on-one meetings between managers and staff to identify problems early, training managers to spot changes in mood or behaviour that might indicate a mental health issue, or creating a clear list of steps to follow if someone admits they need help. Most importantly, your business’ mental health policies should be clear and readily available to all members of staff.
3. Provide treatment
Depending on how much you can afford to invest, there are many ways to provide mental health treatment for your staff. Here are just a few ideas:
- Allowing time off for therapy appointments
- Providing a dedicated quiet room
- Identifying and reducing stress-causing triggers
- Ensuring more managerial guidance during busy times
- Training staff to manage their mental health
- Providing on-site therapy for all staff
4. Aim for prevention
Of course, the best way to beat the workplace blues is to prevent serious issues from developing in the first place. Fostering an atmosphere of trust and openness is a great way to do this, but you could even go further – for example, by providing a space for employees to air their grievances calmly, or by allowing more flexible working hours. Even relatively small steps like these can help to make your staff feel happier, healthier and more invested in their work.
If you want more information about promoting mental health at work, take a look at the Mind resource pack.
Do you need someone to lighten your workload or provide temporary cover? Get Ahead VA offers virtual assistants skilled in a range of disciplines. To find out more about how we can help your small business, please give us a call on 01483 332220 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.