World Mental Health Day is a time that has been set aside each year to celebrate and promote global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It's an initiative run by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries, and the day was first introduced in 1992.
Since then it has focussed on such topics as; the link between mental health and meeting and eating with family and friends, mindfulness, depression and how to take a proactive approach to your personal wellbeing. This year it takes place on Tuesday 10th October, with the theme Mental Health in the Workplace and is a good opportunity for us all to consider our approach to our own personal mental wellbeing and that of those around us, espeically at work.
What's the problem?
Colleagues often become friends and provide a good support network for those going through emotional distress, but it is the line manager relationship that allows for the official communication between the organisation and the employee. This is why it is key that your leaders have the right skills and approach to deal with staff who suffer from mental health problems compassionately and effectively. Getting it wrong can be a distressing and costly mistake for the team and the business.
The line manager relationship is where discussions about personal wellbeing, performance and progress are likely to take place, so it is there that any issues are likely to become apparent. It is not necessary to be a doctor or therapist to adopt an open and honest approach to reviews and a culture of understanding and willingness to address problems.
What should I do or not do?
First contact is key in distress. How an initial conversation is handled can affect the ultimate outcome, and it is important to display empathy without making rash promises. There should be no implication of weakness, incompetence or blame, but a positive hopeful discussion led by the needs of the indivudal.
We all have times when we struggle, and often temporary adjustments can make a huge impact on someone's abiity to cope and to make logical choices to improve their situation. It an employee feels supported and that an employee truly cares about their welfare, this can vastly improve their loyalty, attitude and ability to perform and succeed in the long term, which can only be a positive outcome for the employer. Resilience and the ability to manage challenge and change effectively is a key skillset in the modern workplace.
What can I do to help my staff?
Organisations have a duty of care to their staff, which you can help to fulfil by working with Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counsellling to provide services for those in need. You may find World Mental Health Day a good opportunity to initiate a conversation about what steps your co-workers could take to provide for their mental fitness.
Our services include:
- Face to face and telephone counselling on a 121 basis. Assessment plus 6 sessions on a 'pay as you go' basis
- Mental health presentations to guide your staff in managing and improving their own mental health
- Mental health workshops to help line managers take a proactive approach to employee wellbeing, within the parameters of your HR guidelines