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Blue Monday? Raise awareness of and support staff all year round with their mental health…

An employee sat outside at a table looking at a phone screen.

Since its inception back in 2005, Blue Monday has raised a lot of awareness around mental ill-health, and whilst it presents a fantastic opportunity to promote positive wellbeing in the workplace, it often causes workplaces to fall into the trap of ticking a box for a single day in a calendar year.

Mental health issues do not come and go as quickly as awareness days, and for that reason organisations need to ensure they are working towards breaking the negative stigma surrounding mental wellbeing and doing what they can to assist their staff all throughout the year.

The past couple of years have been difficult for individuals and businesses, and the challenges are set to continue long into 2022. If you haven’t already started putting in place a mental health strategy for your employees, look to make a start now, or review your current approach and build on it. Finding mental health support is not an easy task for those already struggling, so by being more open you will create a more caring and supportive culture for your employees. This will in turn provide a more committed and productive workforce. 

With 822,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2020/21 (according to the 2020/21 HSE figures), we know that mental health issues continue to plague employees nationwide. Therefore it is vitally important that businesses are mindful about the impact of the pandemic on their workforce, and avoid putting excessive pressure on staff. Plus factor in that pre-existing mental health conditions can be exacerbated by work related stress and you can see why employers need to take notice.

Pre-COVID there was an increasing awareness among businesses about championing employee mental health. However there is still much more to be done, in convincing every workplace that employee mental health and wellbeing needs to be taken much more seriously.

Start the conversation

Here’s some simple ideas to help support your employees with their mental health and wellbeing:

Remind employees to look after their mental health

This may seem like common sense, but when you get caught up in day-to-day struggles it can be easy to lose sight of taking care of yourself and checking in on your mental health. There are plenty of freely available resources and blogs that you can share with staff. Check out our blog - 8 simple rules for improving daily mental wellbeing. You can also share our downloadable resources below.

Set a time to have a one-to-one catch up with those in your team

A cup of tea and informal chat can go a long way to support someone and give them the boost they need. Whilst face-to-face meetings should be avoided where possible, you can still set up a virtual meeting.

Instead of discussing workloads and deadlines, ask them about how they are feeling and have an open conversation about their mental health. The Samaritan’s Brew Monday encourages people to stay connected through a virtual cuppa. Listening to someone and letting them talk about any problems they are facing can help clear their mind. 

Appoint Mental Health First Aiders

It is extremely important to ensure that mental health and wellbeing is supported from the top down in any organisation. It is a good idea to appoint Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) to help support employee wellbeing, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be members from the management team. Reach out to all staff and ask if anyone is interested in becoming a MHFA.

Encourage your staff to take regular breaks

Check in on your staff and remind them to take regular breaks, including their full lunch break. Eating a nutritious lunch and getting some fresh air will not only help them remain more productive in the afternoon but it will help contribute to their general wellbeing.

Let staff know they can ask for help

Research indicates that 300,000 with mental health problems have to leave their jobs each year, with many not even disclosing their health concerns to their employer. This is a scary statistic and speaks volumes for why as a nation we need to be much better at removing the stigma surrounding mental-ill health. Make sure your staff know that they will be met with kindness and compassion if they need help. Open lines of communication and honesty are valuable traits and companies that can instill these into their culture will reap the rewards. 

It’s important to remember that looking after your employees mental health and wellbeing is ongoing, not just one day of the year. Taking steps towards supporting your employees wellbeing can make a real difference to them and even give your company a competitive advantage.

How can we help?

Our online Mental Health and Wellbeing Training courses cover a range of topics, including:

Offering employees access to important courses like these means that they can gain easy access to quality information to support them with their wellbeing.

Additionally, we have a number of free Mental Health & Wellbeing resources available that can be found & downloaded from our website.

We are proud to be able to offer a range of quality resources to support organisations with addressing employee mental health and wellbeing. It’s a great place to start!

If you are interested in any of these courses, you can claim a free, no-obligation trial to them today! Alternatively, you can request a quote and a member of our team will shortly be in touch with a bespoke quote for your organisation.

iHASCO's online mental health and wellbeing training courses