An organisation’s most important resource is usually its people so their wellbeing should be a key priority. According to the Benenden Mental Health in the Workplace report, seven in ten employees have suffered from a condition related to mental health. 

However, many organisations do not have mental health policies or actively engage with their employees on mental health issues. Fewer than one in ten employees said they would confide in their employer if they were suffering from a mental health condition.

Whilst the survey identified specific causes of mental health issues in the workplace, in reality it is often a combination of issues which take their toll on employee mental health. As such, a holistic approach is required and it is important that employers and employees together foster a culture which supports, rather than ignores, mental illness.

52% of employees said they wanted their employer to offer help and support and 21% wanted their employer to listen. So seemingly small things can make a big difference but they need to be part of the overall organisational culture and be backed up by practical measures.

Benenden list four practical steps to foster a positive culture around mental health:

  1. A mental health policy sends a signal that mental health matters and that you will take it seriously. Ensure all staff and especially managers, are aware of the policy and their responsibilities.
  2. Provide access to a confidential helpline.
  3. Ensure a good work/life balance.
  4. Introduce mental health training for line managers.

For information on the survey and advice on practical steps you can take, visit: https://www.benenden.co.uk/be-healthy/work/mental-health-in-the-workplace-is-it-currently-a-tick-box-culture/

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