According to recent CIPD research the amount of people saying they have experienced mental health issues whilst in employment has climbed from a quarter to a third over the last five years. Many contributing factors can be responsible for mental health problems and it is by no means advisory or expected of a business to attempt to council these complex issues. Employers do have the capacity to make a real difference to those who are suffering however through these easy -to -implement steps:

Workplace Training

Line managers are widely considered to be the most influential business members for offering support to staff with mental health issues. Equally, line managers also rate highly for feeling they arenít offered enough training by employers to handle this responsibility. MIND, the mental health charity, advise that workplace training is the best way to help line managers and promote a supportive workplace culture. MIND offer this training themselves and support this with a workplace wellness index so that it is possible to see the areas of your business which require training to improve. It is advisable to use a charity or company who are specialists in supporting mental health, this way managers will be equipped sufficiently to help their staff and will be able to recognise the right course of action in relation to severity.

Implement an EAP

57% of UK workers have suffered from mental health problems at some point, but only 5% of employers have given them any help according to Canada Life Group Insurance. This is a problem which can easily be assigned to how comfortable employees feel disclosing stress or mental health problems to their employers. To encourage an openness and non-judgemental culture, support of mental health needs to be visibly integrated into the culture that all staff are part of. Embedding an employee assistance programme (EAP) into a business health and wellbeing corporate plan ensures that every new staff member is aware of the support on offer as soon as they join an organisation.

An EAP offers guidance to staff so that they know who they can confidently speak to within the company if they are struggling. The EAP also ensures that these designated guidance staff know the best support platforms to advise staff to visit depending on their concerns.

Easily Accessible Support

Finally, a downloadable pack which discretely discloses help and advice along with the contact details for support platforms is a good way to show staff that support is available whilst removing the obligation to speak to someone if they feel more comfortable with privacy.

More than 42% of people have experienced a problem in the last 12 months which has affected their health. With health and wellbeing at the top of the agenda for most businesses it is essential that this encompasses mental health too. Taking a preventative approach to poor mental health through training staff to provide support, encouraging an acceptance culture and designing EAP programmes can totally change an organisation for the better.

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