We all have mental health ……even in the workplace.

One in four of us in any given year have a mental health issue and encouragingly, in workshops we run across organisations, we are experiencing growing comfort levels around this figure;  but what if this increased to 1 in 9 of us in the workplace?

Recent research, It’s Not 1 in 4; Its All of Us, by Accenture suggested exactly this; 90% of those surveyed were either touched by mental health issues themselves or by the issues of someone close to them.  So, if you are not already convinced that workplaces need to create cultures where mental health is normalized, so that open conversations are welcomed and signposting and support is available, visible and trusted, then this should be the moment that this changes.

Everyone has mental health and this lies along a continuum from health through issue to illness.  The workplace must be skilled to hold the necessary conversations, have comfort around the language and equally importantly know what the boundaries are; it is not the role of the workplace to ‘fix’ or ‘solve’ mental health issues. Each individual is responsible for their own mental health and may need to seek professional help from time to time, but in the full knowledge that their workplace is understanding and supportive.

What’s more, the case for investing in mental health in workplaces, continues to grow.  The study also showed employees working in organisations which created an open, supportive culture around mental health are more than twice as likely to love their jobs and are more likely to still be working for the same employer in 12 months time.

But the pace of change is still slow; only one in four workers said that they had seen progress in their workplace’s efforts over the last two years to show that mental health is important and 80% said that training provision to support line managers has either not improved or has got worse.

It is difficult to understand, from a business perspective, why more workplaces are not developing and implementing mental health programmes. One reason may be not knowing where to start or concerns around escalating cost, however as the report clearly articulates, making it about everyone doesn’t mean a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

Within an overall framework, actions and resources need to be tailored to individual populations, focussing on the learning outcomes most relevant for that group. This ensures that training is impactful where it matters and within an overall strategy that can be implemented over time, dovetailing with related activity, utilising existing resources and thus maximising return on investment.

At Mental Health at Work we have a proven track record in this bespoke approach across industries ranging from legal and professional services to manufacturing and retail. So, if you’d like to find out how to ensure your workforce is more engaged in 2019, please get in touch at team@mhaw.uk.com and we’ll make sure that whatever your organisation size or budget we find an approach that brings measurable changes to attitude and behaviour around mental health.

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