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Things We Can Still Learn from World Mental Health Day

Since 1992, the 10th of October has been an international day for global mental health education, increasing awareness and advocating against social stigma. The World Federation for Mental Health works with over 150 countries, and thirty years later Mental Health is still a series issue which needs more attention provided in the workplace.

So what can employers still learn from World Mental Health Day?

Firstly, how do we define Mental Health?

ACAS classifies mental health as the ‘mental and emotional state which allows us to cope with the normal stressors of everyday life.’ The implication is that poor mental health leaves us unable to cope with situations that would usually be within our ability to deal with – and an extended period of poor mental health can make it more difficult for employees to complete tasks or make decisions within their work life, which would usually be their responsibility and ultimate impact their performance and that of the company.

What makes it difficult to manage can be the variations of symptoms and needs of individuals, and the miscellaneous stressors, anxieties, and other mental health disorders which can arise over time. The needs of employees might be clear, and others needs might change depending on the situation.

Why should an employer consider Mental Health as important?

It goes without saying that a happy employee is more likely to provide valuable contributions to their team and workplace, but other benefits include:

· Retaining valuable staff

· Reducing sickness absence

· Increasing productivity

· Allowing employees to develop their professional skills

· Enhancing health and safety within the workplace

· Encouraging a more tolerant workplace environment

What can employers do to encourage good mental health in their employees?

A mental health policy, which makes clear the legal obligations and moral values of the working environment is really important, outlining key actions that will ensure a safe and non-discriminatory workplace. It should also allow employees to raise issues and know that support is available if they are having a poor mental health time. Some actionable things you can do include:

· Host awareness events

· Implement an employee programme to offer confidential support and advice

· Provide training for Mental Health Champions

All of these actions can be supported and improved with the right HR consultation, and employers need to carefully consider the time investment to support their staff. Whilst World Mental Health Day may have passed, the things we need to carry forward into the workplace are universal.

To find out how SWan HR can help, contact us here.

SWan HR Consultancy (London and Kent)

SWan HR is an HR consultancy that specialises in HR support for small to medium sized businesses in the South East.

"Where HR Succeeds, the Business Achieves"

SWan HR was founded by Susan Wakelin, MCIPD, who is a qualified HR professional with over thirty years' experience, from setting up, auditing and improving HR functions to management coaching and supporting organisations through difficult situations, transformation and change.

SWan HR provides a broad range of tailored HR services including an HR audit, HR advice, HR outsourcing, HR coaching and project work for all businesses.

Free HR consultation

Contact Susan Wakelin now to take advantage of a free half-hour consultation to talk through your initial HR concerns and how you can manage these going forward.

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