World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of mental health issues within the workplace.

This year’s campaign focusses on suicide prevention, which is shockingly the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK. It is therefore vitally important to raise awareness of mental health at work and to promote an open forum to discuss mental illness within the workplace. There is still a lot of stigma around mental health, with research indicating that 54% of hiring managers wouldn’t hire someone with a history of depression, even when they are the best candidate. Then on the employee side 1 in 4 people are not confident talking about their mental well-being. It is key therefore to have more of these conversations.

Below are some suggestions and tips to check in with colleagues and staff:

  1. As part of the #asktwice campaign, check in with your colleagues a few times to ensure they are okay. Make sure you have meaningful discussions, rather than passing pleasantries.
  2. Make sure colleagues switch off and have a digital detox over the weekend and evenings.
  3. Everyone is different so tailor your managerial style to each team members needs, and directly ask them how you can support them, which creates a more holistic environment.
  4. Ensure your projects are clear, and deadlines are explained so that your team members are understand their role and the bigger picture.
  5. As an employer or line manager implement a Wellness Action Plan (WAPs). WAPs are a commitment between employers and staff and can be drawn up together. They can include, but are not excluded to the following the suggestions:
  • approaches the individual can adopt to support their mental well-being.
  • early warning signs of poor mental health to look out for.
  • any workplace triggers for poor mental health or stress.
  • potential impact of poor mental health on performance, if any.
  • what support they need from you as their manager.
  • actions and positive steps you will both take if they are experiencing stress or poor mental health.

If you would like any more information about mental health at work, there are some brilliant resources at www.timetochange.org.uk and www.mind.org.uk.