Mental Health and the Workplace
Mental ill health affects 1 in 4 people in Northern Ireland and can present itself in many forms, from stress and anxiety to depression and bipolar disorder. Poor mental health is one of the biggest issues in the workplace today where between 10% and 25% of fulltime employees may be experiencing mental ill health. Workplace factors such as stress, long hours, lack of support and bullying are just some reasons why people may suffer from mental ill health. Events outside the working environment can also contribute to poor mental health which can impact a person’s performance in the workplace. It is important that employers understand how to address mental health in the workplace to protect and support their employees.
There are a number of benefits for employers who choose to promote positive mental health at work including reduced staff turnover and absences, increased productivity and improved working relationships. Benefits for employees include improved morale and confidence, better support and better working conditions. Overall, it is beneficial for employers to invest time and money into looking after staff mental health and creating an open culture in the workplace to discuss mental health.
How to Manage Mental Health in the Workplace
Employers and managers are responsible for creating a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. It is important that employers are able to recognise signs of mental ill health, understand the causes and encourage employees to open up to them or another staff member. Below are some tips which could help employers/managers better support their employees mental health:
- Create a mental health policy for the workplace
- Provide mental health and stress awareness workshops for all staff
- Have a number of staff trained in mental health first aid
- Set clear job roles and tasks
- Understand work/life balance
- Encourage openness and good communication
- Ensure change within the workplace is managed effectively
How Can We Help?
Health Matters offer a number of programmes to promote both mental and psychical health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Mental Health First Aid
Our 2-day Mental Health First Aid (MFHA) course has been devised to increase the knowledge and confidence of participants, enabling them to provide first aid and support for people experiencing mental health problems at home and at work. It encourages participants to recognise signs and symptoms of mental ill health and respond appropriately.
We offer stress related programmes for employees of all levels. These sessions provide practical guidance as to how employees can recognise stressors in their lives and assist to improve their own mental wellbeing and that of others.
Stress management training has been specifically developed to meet the needs of organisations that have recognised the crucial role managers, supervisors and team leaders play in the reduction and prevention of work-related stress. This standalone qualification focuses on the role of workplace stress, identification of likely causes and examination of the steps that could be taken to prevent and alleviate stress related problems in the workplace.
Health Matters at Work Initiative (Open to N.I only)
Our Public Health Agency funded Health & Wellbeing Support Service enables Health Matters to support workplaces who wish to promote their workplace as a healthy setting. We provide the tools necessary to assess staff health and wellbeing needs and develop a prioritised action plan.
Full Range of Workplace Health and Wellbeing Services
This includes educational health seminars, information stands, nutrition and psychical activity programmes and much more.
Experiencing Mental Ill Health at Work?
If you are an employee experiencing mental ill health in the workplace, speak to a manager, supervisor or trusted work colleague. Voice your concerns and seek support to create a healthier and more positive working environment. Alternatively, speak to a family member or friend about how you are feeling or seek additional support.