World Mental Health Day is all about raising awareness of our mental well-being and sharing positive thoughts on how to look after ourselves.
It’s a day that reminds us to practice self-love and teaches us to not judge what we see on the surface.
In the professional world, mental health is a subject that has not always been freely spoken about, and even though awareness is beginning to spread, mental health can still be misunderstood and addressed incorrectly.
Mental health isn’t just restricted to our personal lives. This is why this World Mental Health Day, we're sharing advice on how you can support your employees and ensure that your workplace is a safe space for everyone.
Spotting the Signs
A great way to start is by keeping an eye out for any signs that your employees might be struggling with their mental health. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell if someone is going through a difficult time, as a lot of people know how to hide it well. Nevertheless, there are some common indicators that you can look out for:
A lack of focus
Lack of motivation
Lack of enthusiasm
An increase in absences
Not everyone feels comfortable enough to ask for help, but if you notice the signs, you can be the one who takes the first step and approach them with an offer of support.
However, don’t force your employees to confide in you. If they want to keep something private or wish to seek help from one of their colleagues, then you shouldn’t take it personally. Whilst a supportive manager is extremely important to help people feel comfortable, it may not always mean that they want to turn to you, as there can sometimes be that professional barrier.
How to Create a Positive Work Environment
Communication: There’s the well-known saying “communication is key” and it’s a saying that we should all live by! By promoting open communication, you are showing your employees that you are an approachable manager and they can go to you if they need someone to talk to.
Work-life balance: Having a good work-life balance is healthy for both the mind and the body and stops any unnecessary stress leaking into our personal lives. Having this balance gives employees the much-needed time to unwind and take a break from their professional lives.
Activities: It doesn’t have to be anything extreme or overly flashy, but sometimes fun activities in the workplace can keep employees motivated and give them something to look forward to. For example, you could introduce a weekly work social or even a friendly office competition.
Introducing flexibility: If you spot an employee struggling with their mental health, you can support them by offering reasonable adjustments, such as easing any extra work stresses and allowing some flexibility surrounding their deadlines.
Make it Known
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health and a lot of this is down to a lack of understanding. One way we can combat this is by speaking about it and making it known. For example, you can introduce:
Mental health discussions
Mental health training courses
Weekly wellness tips
Fundraising opportunities for a mental health charity
Team bonding exercises
By having regular meetings and activities centred around mental health, you are taking away its silence and helping your employees feel as though they can talk about it. As a result, you will create an environment where mental health doesn’t have to become a source of isolation. Instead, your employees can be confident they have somewhere to go or people to talk to when times get tough.
So, let’s look after ourselves and one another. Not just one day a year, but every day.
By doing this, we can start making a positive change.