We spend most of our time working with and advising business leaders on organisational mental health. Commonly, when we speak to businesses, they have already dome some great stuff around workplace mental health. Often, they need some help and guidance as to how they can ensure that what they are doing is meaningful, that it is reaching the people that it is intended to, and that it is making a difference.
Some questions we are often asked are:
“How do we know if what we are doing is really helping people?”
“Our Mental Health First Aiders aren’t being approached much, how do we increase their visibility?”
“How can we help the people who are struggling but aren’t asking for help?”
“What do we do next?”
It is important that, in every business, there is psychological safety – that people feel safe to be able to speak up if they are struggling, to ask for help, and to know that they will be supported.
It is essential that the right people have the right skills to be able spot the signs of mental ill health, and to respond if there is a crisis.
It is just as important that we create workplace cultures in which positive mental health is valued, protected and promoted.
We all have mental health and there is huge value in every organisation investing in to the mental health of all of its’ people, to ensure the conditions are there for every person to experience the best possible mental health – and to thrive at work. With this in mind, every business, no matter the size of type of business, should have an organisational mental health strategy that is aligned with the overall organisational strategy and that aims to protect and promote good mental health for all.
For many businesses, the implementation of a mental health and wellbeing strategy is a new concept entirely. Not knowing where to start is a common problem.
There isn’t a one size fits all approach - every organisation is different and it is important that the organisational workplace well-being strategy is aligned with the overall culture of the business/organisation - otherwise it will feel incongruent and like a box ticking exercise.
Let’s look at some of the components of a successful mental health and wellbeing strategy and what you can do to future-proof the mental health and wellbeing of employees in your organisation and create a psychologically safe and healthy workplace culture:
Find out how people are feeling
Ask them! Do an employee survey or even better just talk to your people, find out how they are feeling, ask them how they doing, and if they need any support in order to thrive. Make wellness a part of your management processes – have managers ask their teams about their wellbeing as part of their regular one to ones.
Model healthy leaderships behaviours
The leadership must be fully on board with any wellbeing strategy and initiatives- and MUST model good, healthy practices themselves – that’s how a positive mental health culture is established and maintained.
Mental health philosophy
Every organisation should have a written mental health philosophy – make sure it is a lived philosophy, not just a poster on a wall!!
This is a way of communicating to everyone in the business, what the organisational commitment is to mental wellbeing. Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan that encourages, protects and promotes good mental health of all staff and an open organisational culture.
There should be a mental health and wellbeing leadership team – who are empowered to follow through on the pledges that the organisation has made in their mental health philosophy.
Training and education e.g. Mental Health First Aid
All businesses should have some people trained as mental health first aiders.
It is also important to look at equipping all line managers with the fundamental knowledge and skills to be able to spot the signs that someone is experiencing symptoms of poor mental health, and to be able promote and protect good mental health for all.
Just training people isn’t enough though – as well as mental health first aiders and/or mental health champions, there needs to a framework of support in place – for those providing support and also to ensure there is appropriate ongoing support for anyone experiencing mental ill health.
It is great when businesses really get behind and promote the main mental health awareness days – including Mental Health Awareness Week (May), World Suicide Awareness Day (September), World Mental Health Day (October) and Men’s Mental Health Month (November)- AND….. mental health should be on the agenda every day of the year, not just on public awareness days.
Show your people that mental health matters always – have a consistent year round communications to raise awareness and share information throughout the year.
For more information on how we can support your business with organisational mental health, contact our team HERE.
The MHIB team x