Leadership in Action During Mental Health Awareness Month

23 May, 2022

The workplace plays a critical role in an employee’s mental health – so, what can leaders do to address the subject? Nearly 1 in 4 people experience a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year and many more of your employees could be struggling to cope.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is an opportunity for employers to develop an understanding of mental health issues and reduce stigma.

Ready to recognise Mental Health Awareness Month in the workplace? Here are 4 crucial suggestions for employers to consider when striving to support their workforce:

Don’t Assume, Ask

Smiling senior woman patient in doctor's office counseling a male doctor

The stigma surrounding mental health issues makes it difficult to address, especially in a workplace environment. Feeling as though their personal lives should be left at the door, many employees suffer from anxiety and depression in silence, making a stressful situation even worse.

Talking about mental health openly – the struggles, the treatment, what’s worked and what hasn’t – helps everyone in the workplace feel secure and supported should they themselves require a listening ear.

Creating a space where real, authentic conversations are welcomed between employees should be a priority for company leaders to sustain a healthy working environment. Check in with co-workers, allow them to voice their concerns, demonstrate your understanding and reassure them of your acceptance in order promote a positive workspace.

Well-Earned Breaks

Decompressing from the working day is often overlooked and undervalued. Allowing time for yourself and your employees to relax, unwind and process the daily workload is not only important after work, but during the workday too.

Break from the restrictions of routine and get lunch as a team, organise a mindfulness session, or host a mental health awareness workshop. Each of these activities will give your team a well-earned break from their responsibilities and allow them to interact within their team – which is incredibly important for building relationships.

Be Supportive, Not Critical

Supportive conversation between employees

A staggering 70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year. With the support and understanding of managers and leaders, workplace stresses can be managed and resolved to promote a healthy working environment.

It’s important for company leaders to support their staff, offering strategic and sympathetic suggestions to ease their workload and reduce workplace pressure.

When a supportive workplace culture is established, employees are more likely to address their mental health concerns, seek the necessary support for their health and become more productive, motivated members of your team.

Addressing Post-Pandemic Stress

Despite the trauma of the pandemic, the global disaster inspired more open and supportive conversations between employees and senior leadership.

During the pandemic, most companies altered their genetic makeup from office working to hybrid-working and prioritised scheduled catch ups instead of impromptu coffee breaks, ensuring that every employee was coping under stress.

As we begin to operate in a post-pandemic world, it’s important that our leaders maintain their support of employees and continue to address the impact of the pandemic.

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Month and how we work at Marmion, get in touch with our expert team.

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