Today is World Mental Health Day and across social media today we have seen a variety of messages including from celebrities that “It’s ok not to be ok.”
Talking about mental health on any day and not just World Mental Health Day is good because it raises awareness and helps to remove the long held stigma around not talking about mental health issues.
As employers, today is a good day to reflect on the organisations response to mental health in the workplace. Do you have access to a counselling service for example, do you have mental health champions, what benefits can employees access to benefit mental health and do you have a culture where people can talk about how they are coping.
Employees with mental health issues may be disabled within the meaning of s6 Equality Act 2010 and as such employers may have a duty to make reasonable adjustments as well as the requirement not to discriminate directly or indirectly against the disabled employee. Sometimes prevention is better than cure so the more the employer can do to prevent the employee going off on long-term sick or getting to the point where they become very unwell, the better.
MIND are a mental health charity and they offer lots of free resources and guidance for employers when considering mental heath at work. You can have a look at all their resources here which are a great place to start. You can also look at a number of measures within the workplace to manage stress and assist in staff’s mental health and wellbeing:
- Ensure excessive hours are not being worked in the office or remotely;
- Ensure departments are adequately resourced and staff supported with their day to day workload;
- Ensure staff take their breaks and provide somewhere inviting for them to have a break;
- Offer employee benefits like healthcare (many modern policies have things like gym membership and discounts for those who are more active including free coffee and cinema tickets);
- Implement a free confidential counselling service for employees to access;
- Utilise some of MIND’s resources and ensure employee know the details for their helpline or the Samaritans in case of crisis;
- Encourage a culture of openness and discussion around mental health
We are now working with some clients to implement a mental health plan which looks at improving the workplace for their staff. If you would like some guidance check out MIND resources and then contact us. Remember it’s ok not to be ok.