For many of us, our work takes up a large portion of our lives. We spend most of our time working and communicating with others. We are constantly surrounded by things that may impact our mental health positively and negatively. Therefore, it’s so important that employees' mental health takes a priority position in every business.
What is mental health:
Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioural, and emotional wellbeing. It’s all about how people think, feel, and behave. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. We all have times when we feel down, stressed or frightened. Most of the time, those feelings pass. But sometimes, they develop into a more serious problem, and that could happen to any of us. It is therefore important for all of us to be able to identify and recognise when our mental health is deteriorating and address negative thoughts and underlying anxieties.
Current statistics from Mind reveal that at least one in four people in England are affected by a mental illness each year. Whilst they can have devastating impacts on people’s lives, they are also treatable, just like physical conditions. Stress is the most common cause of mental health problems in the workplace. It can affect your behaviour and your mental and physical state.
It's not easy to recognise when stress is the reason you're feeling or acting differently. Below is a graphic that details some of the most common symptoms of someone who is stressed:
Organisations putting employee mental health at the forefront
According to Mind, work is the biggest cause of stress in our lives. At some point in everyone's life, they will deal with a form of mental health problem, either directly or indirectly. In fact, one in six workers experience mental health problems at any one time.
The promotion of good mental health in organisations can grow people’s awareness whilst educating them about the importance of mental health. It can also boost employees’ confidence to have open conversations about their mental health and talk about any struggles they may be facing. By creating a workplace that supports mental health, you are not only limiting the impact of mental health problems but also demonstrating that all employees are valued and heard.
When supporting employees' mental health, it’s important to remember, one size doesn’t fit all. Everyone is different and has their own methods of dealing with mental health problems. In organisations, it’s important to have a range of options for employees to choose from when they are seeking support.
Prioritising mental health at Thornbury Community Services
At Thornbury Community Services, we respect and understand how each employee is different. Their mental health is at the forefront of our focus as a business, and we do everything possible to offer our support and guidance. We have a range of options for mental health support, confidentiality and confidence are both key factors that we ensure employees have when seeking guidance from us.
We offer mental health support to both our healthcare workers and employees to ensure their mental health and wellbeing is prioritised and cared for.
Mental health workshops
We regularly run mental health workshops and courses that focus on promoting emotional health and resilience in the workplace to improve staff wellbeing and productivity. The workshops allow us to identify the triggers of stress and pinpoint the sources of support available. We also identify practical steps to build resilience and a personalised action plan.
Our workshops cover a variety of topics that are associated with mental health:
- Promotion of wellbeing
- Positive behaviour support
- Benefits of exercise
- How to cope with worries
Every individual that attends our workshops should walk away with a greater understanding of themselves and be able to recognise their strengths and utilise them to change the way they see things. This will allow them to build emotional resilience.
We also run a range of virtual clubs for everyone to get involved with. Our employees have a variety of interests and hobbies outside of work, and we want to ensure they can have the time to get creative and share their interests with other employees. Our virtual clubs provide a great opportunity to build relationships and meet employees across our different offices. We currently run a virtual art club, virtual book club and virtual choir.
We are always creating new challenges to keep everyone fit and healthy and to provide our employees with support, encouragement and motivation. We finished a challenge several months ago, which was to raise money for our sponsored charity of the year, Mind. Our participants had to walk, run, and cycle the total distance from London to Tokyo.
Since the 20th of July, we started a new challenge in which our participants have to walk, run, cycle and swim the total mileage around the world (24,901 miles). Every two weeks, we shared updates to ensure our teams were on track and getting the support they need. Keeping fit and healthy is very important for your mental and physical health. Exercise is a powerful tool for relieving stress, improving sleep and boosting your overall mood.
As well as our workshops, courses and virtual clubs, we have an external emotional resilience coach ready to offer support to any of our employees who are dealing with mental health problems and need some guidance. We also have an Employee Assistance Program that allows our employees to have access to qualified advisors who are trained to help with any issues or offer confidential advice that's affecting them or their families right now.
We have a shared portal for our employees to access a vast range of resources dedicated to mental health and wellbeing. Our resources offer tips, information and guidance around many mental health topics, such as:
- Physical wellbeing
- Tips for remote working
- Financial wellbeing
- Managing loneliness
- Looking after your mental health during COVID-19
As a business, we understand the importance of offering support in many forms. No individual is the same, and it’s important to remember and value this. Offering employees a range of support and resources can allow them to have personal choice and receive the type of support that works best for them and their mental health.
Employee mental health and wellbeing is something that should be prioritised in companies to ensure everyone receives the best support and guidance possible. Mental health is something we all have. It doesn’t always stay the same either; It can fluctuate as circumstances occur or change. Creating a work environment where people can be themselves can allow employees to feel comfortable to speak about their mental health concerns and reach out for help when they need it.
How can organisations support employee mental health and wellbeing?
One of the most important factors for promoting positive mental health in the workplace is creating a suitable office environment. It’s important to make sure the office is a welcoming space and is open and bright. Creating communal areas for employees to socialise, work and relax will most certainly help build good team rapport and relationships.
Ensuring employees take breaks throughout the day can allow them to take some time to relax and regain their energy. Keeping employees hydrated and fed is also important. Make sure they have access to water fountains and food in the office, such as fruit baskets and snack jars. Encouraging employees to eat and drink regularly will improve energy levels and reduce stress.
Having suitably trained and equipped managers on-site is very important. You want your employees to feel comfortable seeking support and guidance in the workplace. Having a safe space where employees can open up in confidence will make them feel at ease when speaking about any concerns or problems they’re having.
If you wish to receive more professional help, you can contact Samaritans, NHS helpline and Mind.
If you’re a Thornbury Community Services healthcare worker who would like more information about our mental health workshops, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org