Mental health is about how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Around 25% of the UK population will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their lives.
In the workplace, an employer has a duty of care to support the health of all their employees – both physically and mentally.
Stress Awareness in the Workplace
As many as 75% of employees say they find their jobs so stressful that they would consider leaving. As we spend around one third of time at work, creating a mentally well, stress-free work environment is incredibly important.
The HSE defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them’. Stress at work can aggravate pre-existing mental health conditions, resulting in 72 million working days lost, and costs of over 34 billion pounds per year. So, learning about how to manage stress in the workplace, alongside mental health awareness training can positively affect your organisation as well as your team.
Signs of stress in an employee:
- They may be unable to concentrate
- They could have increased periods of absence from work
- More frequent late arrivals
- Increased indecisiveness
- Eating more or less than usual
- Drinking more, smoking excessively, or taking drugs to cope
- They may be more tired than usual due to problems with sleep
- Mood swings may be present
- You may notice them withdrawing more
- They may lose motivation/confidence
- You may notice increased emotional reactions such as increased nervousness, tearfulness, or aggression
Research shows that for every £1 spent by employers on mental health and stress reduction interventions, they get back £5 in terms of reduced absence, lower turnover, increased production, fewer accidents and less ‘presenteeism’ (employees working while sick). Additionally, by investing in your workforce, your organisation will save money on potential recruitment costs and on training new employees.
All workplaces can benefit from training their staff to understand and recognise the signs stress and mental ill health in the workplace.
Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace – Prevention is Better than Cure
Earlier this year, the British Medical Journal found that around 10% of the population still experience persistent distress following the Covid-19 pandemic, showing us that supporting mental health is essential for the wellbeing of our employees.
Even before the pandemic, we noticed numerous organisations approaching us, asking for help with starting the mental health conversation in their workplaces. Many people still struggle to discuss stress or mental wellbeing at work, or are unsure how to raise it with their employer or employee. Using mental health training can help you to raise awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma and build a supportive, inclusive culture for the long term. Here’s how:
Raise awareness – providing awareness training helps everyone understand how support their own wellbeing and that of others. Courses that provide information about wellness and self-care can also show employees how to eliminate or reduce more harmful lifestyle factors such as smoking or drinking excessively, teach them to and implement wellbeing strategies such as exercise and good sleep hygiene. Being informed and educated also helps you and your employees to support colleagues who may be struggling.
Reduce stigma – opening the conversation and leading by example helps break down the stigma around stress and mental health. If your team understand the prevalence of the issue, they are more likely to take it seriously and respond accordingly.
Enable employees / encourage early intervention to help recovery – training can help to build resilience and give employees tools and techniques to manage and support their own wellbeing. Highlighting potential issues rather than ignoring or dismissing potential problems can lead to early intervention.
Build an inclusive culture – inclusive workforces are often more motivated, engaged, and productive. Providing mental health training and support allows employees to safely feel vulnerable and increases shared experiences amongst colleagues. If everyone feels encouraged and supported, the wellbeing of your team will naturally increase.
Know how to support others – by learning how to spot signs and symptoms of stress or mental ill health, employers, line managers, and employees will be more able to provide support when it’s needed. Increasing employee confidence in talking about mental health and stress in the workplace means that they will also find it easier to ask for help themselves.
Online Training Courses
Here’s a summary of two of our most popular mental health awareness training courses. We also design and develop bespoke training, specifically tailored to the needs of organisations. So, if you’re struggling to find exactly what you need to support stress and mental health in the workplace, don’t hesitate to ask us for help.
We created this interactive training course in collaboration with leadership and coaching specialists Zentano and psychotherapist Andy Flack to give learners a greater understanding of mental health, whilst promoting a healthy and supportive working environment. The course helps you to understand how widespread common mental health issues are, and explores mental health strategies. The course also makes sure that all learners know how to confidently talk to someone about mental health issues.
This practical course is loaded with information about improving and maintaining mental health, and includes an interactive ‘tips to manage worry’ section. It also explores ‘tips for maintaining a healthy work/life balance’ as well as explaining the importance of sleep, exercise, and diet. You’ll also hear about ‘tips to manage your mood and emotions’, and find out lots of information about how to support and talk to someone who may be struggling with their mental health.
This course is aimed at people who would like to become a Mental Heath First Aider in their workplace. It’s also suitable for HR teams, managers and supervisors interested in starting a Mental Health First Aid programme.
As well as covering mental health and stress, the course introduces the subject of Mental Health First Aid and workplace wellness schemes. The course covers the practicalities of the role and explores the skills that make you suited to supporting the mental health of others. You’ll find out about how to reassure and support colleagues and how to deal with panic attacks in the workplace. Lots of information about self-care is included along with details about getting support to implement a company-wide approach to good mental health and wellbeing.