Stress, overwork, burn-out: there are a variety of reasons employees might suffer from poor mental health. In a time where workplaces are more fast-paced than ever, approximately 828,000 workers in the UK have reported work-related stress, depression, or anxiety, and an incredible 17.9 million working days have been lost because of this. On a workplace level, there must be something managers can do. Mylo Kaye suggests why managers should receive mental health training and the positive ways it can impact a workplace.
Good workplace mental health starts at the top. A manager who can understand and support their team’s mental health will catch problems quickly. This lets them run a workplace that has healthy and happy staff who are proud of their work, in turn leading to employee retention.
Prevention is better than needing a cure. Thus, the most important aspect of managerial mental health training, says Mylo Kaye, is that managers will learn to notice signs of mental ill health in the workplace early on. Knowing the warning signs is key, and recognising and resolving poor mental health when it first arises is significantly more helpful than if it is left to grow more debilitating to the employee.
It’s a known fact that people can find talking about their mental health difficult. It’s often hard enough to discuss with close friends and family, let alone work colleagues or superiors. This is where managers can step in. A large part of mental health advocacy is eliminating the stigma that unfortunately still exists when it comes to talking about these matters. When managerial staff can talk openly and intelligently about mental ill health, employees will know it’s okay to follow their lead. A company where there is no shame or fear about discussing mental wellbeing is one where staff are happier and more comfortable in their surroundings.
Along with teaching managers the best ways to be open and honest about mental ill health, managerial mental health training can point leaders in the direction of resources available for staff. The good thing, Mylo Kaye points out, is that these resources can come in all shapes and sizes: advising staff to talk to their GP, recommending a private therapist, or even in-house support systems such as peer groups. Every individual has different needs, and when you know what these are, leaders will be best suited to signpost employees in the appropriate direction.
Speaking of peer groups, the importance of a positive company culture cannot be overstated. Mylo Kaye says that — particularly in a post-pandemic society where many workplaces had staff working from home or on furlough — maintaining a sense of teamship and togetherness is vital. People report that peer support groups build their self esteem and confidence, as well as help them feel less alone. Managers should also consider implementing a mental health policy — the overall vision of the company’s approach to mental health. This can help immensely, as having a strategy and a vision tangibly mapped out not only lets employees see that their wellbeing is being taken seriously, it’s also a roadmap that can be referred to if and when it is needed.
So, what are the practicalities involved? Finding managerial mental health training isn’t hard, says Mylo Kaye. The first step is to research mental health charities that provide this service. Many, like Mind, for example, offer different options to suit each workplace. If staff are still working from home, an eLearning course might be the best choice — it can be hosted on a company’s learning management system. Charities can also offer virtual training that takes place over Zoom, or in-house training which allows you to take control over the time and location, and the trainers will turn up when required. There are plenty of other organisations that provide mental health training for managers, with different pricing options and topics discussed so you can discover the right one for your business’ needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought mental health to the forefront in almost all aspects of life, so it is prudent for workplaces to be aware of how they can work with their staff to support them as best they can. Ultimately, everyone benefits from managerial mental health training. Managers can be assured their staff are appropriately taken care of, while employees receive the assistance and support they might need when living with poor mental health.