Discussing mental health issues with an employer has long been associated with the stigma of ‘not being able to cope with your job role’. Mental ill-health stigma still remains one of the main barriers to addressing mental health problems in the workplace. In many cases, employees refrain from discussing mental health issues with their employer for fear of jeopardising their career prospects and of the fear of being discriminated against. According to leading mental health charity Mind, mental health problems at work are common and at least one in six workers is currently experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
Strategies which can be implemented to support mental well-being in the workplace include the following:
- Communicate policies already in place and those which are being introduced in relation to mental health to employees in an open manner
- Encourage open discussion about mental health and well-being in 1:1s and appraisals and offer reassurance
- Offer training and support to assist employees in meeting targets, goals and deadlines if they experiencing mental health problems such as stress and anxiety
- Use Wellness Action Plans (WAPs) as a practical way of supporting mental health and wellbeing.
- Maintain health and well-being by taking positive steps for a healthy lifestyle
- Use breaks effectively to reduce stress levels
- Ask for help and assistance in meeting deadlines or managing goals
- Talk to employers about mental health issues which affect you at work such as stress and anxiety, poor working relationships with others and high workloads.
Reducing fear, concerns and stigma will also help employers to reduce costs associated with mental health related illnesses and time taken off work by employees each year.