World Mental Health Day 2023: Practical Tips for Employers

What matters

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World Mental Health Day is marked every year on 10 October to raise awareness about mental health issues around the world and to mobilise initiatives to support and protect everyone’s mental health.

This year’s theme ‘mental health is a universal human right’ serves as a reminder that good mental health shouldn’t be considered a luxury; it’s a fundamental aspect of our wellbeing.

With an estimated one in four of us suffering from a mental health condition[1], it is vital that employers recognise the role they play in tackling mental health issues and safeguarding their employee’s wellbeing. However, managing mental health in the workplace can be tricky; the invisible and unique nature of mental health conditions can make navigating these difficult. This is often exacerbated by a lack of awareness and understanding surrounding mental health, as well as the stigma that still exists around it. 

So, how can employers take steps towards supporting and safeguarding mental health at work? 

  • One of the greatest challenges for people struggling with mental health is the associated stigma which prevents them from reaching out to get support. To help tackle this stigma, employers should lead the way by having a clear mental health strategy and specific policies to ensure employees experiencing mental health problems get the support they need. As our knowledge and understanding of mental health develops, so too should these policies. 
  • Empower and train your team so that all leaders and line managers understand how to recognise the symptoms of mental health conditions and feel confident to have sensitive conversations at work with their teams and signpost to support if needed.
  • Support people with mental health conditions to participate in and thrive at work by implementing reasonable adjustments specific to their needs. Guidance published by ACAS on reasonable adjustments for mental health can help employers to navigate this.
  • Encourage regular one-to-ones to maintain good working relationships and build mutual trust. Utilise this time to ask employees how they are and give them a safe space to raise any concerns. 
  • Consider introducing mental health champions or mental health first aid training within the workplace. This helps to tackle stigma and create a welcome and inclusive workplace where people can be themselves. 
  • Regularly make clear to employees the availability of support and how to access this. For example, if you have an employee assistance programme or other related mental health services through private medical insurance.

 

Resources

  1. The State of Mental Health Globally in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Progress on the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019-2023) | United Nations

Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.

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