The importance of a mental health focus in an organisation

March 4th 2020 | Posted by phil scott

The importance of a mental health focus in an organisation

Mental health issues are more common than you might think in the UK. At any given time, as many as 1 in 6 people in England say that they are experiencing some sort of mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression.

According to information from Mind, 1 in 4 people in the UK have a problem with their mental health each year. For some people, work is a major contributing factor to their issues.

How organisations can affect the mental health of employees

There are many work-related factors that can cause, or worsen, mental health issues. These factors include:

  • Lack of clear communication leading to uncertainty and a lack of stability.
  • Limited ability to contribute to decision making processes.
  • No cohesion in the way a business works.
  • Long hours and lack of flexibility.
  • Bullying and harassment by colleagues and/or managers.

There are also some factors which are related to a specific job, such as working as a surgeon or social worker.

Fortunately, HR managers are playing an integral role in ensuring that businesses and organisations recognise how important it is to focus on the mental health of employees.

Why organisations should focus on mental health

Aside from the fact that organisations have a moral responsibility to safeguard the mental welfare of employees as much as possible, there are also valuable business benefits to be gained.

If an employee suffers from a mental health issue it can have an adverse effect on their performance, engagement and level of productivity. This is obviously detrimental to the performance of the business overall. By focusing on the mental health of their employees, business and organisations can reduce the chances of these costly performance issues occurring.

How organisations can help with employees’ mental health

HR managers should help business owners and executives to realise that focusing on mental health in their organisation is vital. There are several relevant actions that businesses can take which are not complex to initiate.

  • Support mental health awareness. Charities like Mind provide awareness sessions and training within the workplace which is very useful. Acting in this way helps to remove any stigma which may currently exist.
  • Understand people. It’s easy for team leaders and managers to simply assume that people who work for them are fine. It’s important to not make assumptions. Managers should look out for signs of mental health issues and be proactive.
  • Create a mental health toolkit. This should include useful literature and information about techniques that can be used to help people who have a mental health issue.

In summary

Mental health problems can have a negative effect on individual employees and on a business as a whole. In order to address this potential issue, it’s important that there should be a mental health focus within an organisation. Having this focus enables positive actions to be taken that can turn an organisation into a better place to work.

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