Managing Occupational Mental Health

Male employee sitting at his desk in an office, holding documents and smiling

Yesterday, October 10th, we observed World Mental Health Day: a holiday which aims to raise awareness regarding mental health issues and to facilitate efforts in support of those who suffer from them. We would like to take this opportunity to discuss occupational mental health management and what you can do as an employer to help your staff stay healthy and productive.

Prevalence of Poor Occupational Mental Health

Did you know that according to the latest HSE statistics, 822,000 workers are suffering from work-related mental health conditions such as stress, depression, and anxiety (new or long-standing)? Furthermore, there seems to be a culture of silence, and even fear when it comes to discussing mental health at work: research has found that 30% of staff disagree with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’.

Female employee with brown hair and glasses frustrated over paperwork

Significance of Employee Mental Health for Businesses

It is evident that work can be a huge contributing factor when it comes to worsening mental health. One of the reasons why this information is relevant for you as an employer is the fact that, according to health and safety law, you are responsible for managing health and safety risks in your business, and this includes workers’ mental wellbeing.

However, this is not all: there is strong evidence to suggest that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are significantly more productive! Efforts towards improving mental health at work increase productivity by a staggering 12%. On the other hand, poor mental health is reported to have a number of negative consequences. These can include a lack of engagement with the employee’s work, lower performance, reduced physical capability, difficulties with communication and poor decision-making.

Ways to Facilitate a Culture of Wellbeing

Clearly, promoting employee mental wellbeing is of great importance for businesses; but what steps can you take to maintain it? We have listed some of our favourite tips below:  

Encouraging Physical Activity

Not only does exercise promote happiness and lower stress levels, but it also increases energy levels and productivity. Most adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Whether you facilitate this by providing an on-site gym or accommodations such as walking paths, or through introducing flexible worktimes to allow participation in physical activity, creating a work environment that supports being active during the workday can be incredibly beneficial.

Brown-haired male jogging on treadmill at the gym

Recognition and Reward

Recognising and rewarding employee efforts can help facilitate beneficial behaviours and practices. Demonstrating appreciation is a great way to boost employees’ morale and to make workers feel noticed and respected for their contributions. Furthermore, it provides them with a sense of achievement which they are likely to ‘chase’ by achieving more goals.

Improvement Opportunities

Providing developmental support that can help employees advance their professional growth is critical for staff satisfaction. Improvement opportunities not only help your workers feel supported and engaged, but they are also an integral part of company wellness.

Facilitating Social Activities

Initiating social events can improve employees’ relationships with each other and help increase their sense of belonging. Good work relationships are vital for employees’ mental health: workers who feel connected to each other build stronger company culture and are more dedicated to performing to the best of their abilities.

Employees having a conversation and smiling

Partaking in a Mental Health Awareness Course

Attending a mental health awareness course can help you and your employees gain a better understanding of various common mental health conditions, as well as develop strategies to regularly evaluate your own mental state and this of others around you. It can also help you learn effective practices to help employees when there seems to be an issue, including commencing conversations about mental health.

If this sounds like something your workforce might benefit from, make sure to keep an eye out for our occupational mental health awareness course which is coming soon! You can register your interest here.

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