With Time to Talk Day on 2nd February,Office Genie research into mental health in the workplace has revealed provisions are worryingly lacking.
Indeed, with the day focusing on the need to provide support through conversation, our research found over half of employees (51%) with mental health issues believe there is inadequate support. They are on average twice as unhappy in their place of work as people who stated they did not have such issues.
Similar results were found when looking at discrimination: 16% of people with mental health issues say they have faced discrimination in the workplace, compared to a mere 7% of those without.
Over a third of people suggested more open discussions would be beneficial. Other initiatives included wellness initiatives (45%), clearer policies (35%), funding for external support (25%) and regular HR consultations (21%).
Another fundamental area for improvement is flexible working: nearly half (49%) of employees with mental health issues are unable to work from home but a huge 82% believe it would improve their happiness with work.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, provides her insight on the research:
“These worrying findings highlight the need for better support for people with mental health problems at work. We are starting to see many employers take the issue of poor mental health at work more seriously, and it’s in their interests to do so. After all, employers who have in place accessible and well-promoted wellbeing initiatives are more likely to report better staff engagement, morale and productivity, as well as decreased sickness absence.
“Under the Equality Act, every employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for any employee with a disability, including a mental health problem which can impact on an individual’s ability to carry out their role. Adjustments need not be large or expensive – things like offering flexible working hours, changes to hours and location of work, or giving the option to work from home, can all make a huge difference.
"In order to create mentally healthy workplaces, employers need to promote wellbeing for all their staff and take steps to tackle the causes of stress and poor mental health at work, as well as supporting employees experiencing a mental health problem.”
Resources for HR professionals and line managers on how to create a mentally healthy workplace
The following resources are available on Mind's website:
The first resource in Mind's series helps you to understand the relationship between good employee mental health and getting the best out of your staff. It will help you to start thinking about what you already do to support mental health in your workplace, what impact this has and how to build on it.
This resource for line managers and HR professionals provides practical advice on how to collect vital information about your employees' wellbeing in a joined-up and comprehensive way.
Sets out simple, practical and inexpensive steps that line managers and HR teams can take. It is designed to help you create a more open and supportive culture, improve mental wellbeing for all staff, and boost employee engagement.
This resource details how organisations can support staff at every stage of the mental health spectrum, whether they're stressed or have a diagnosed mental health condition. The approaches in the guide are universal principles designed to support a diverse range of people across a range of workplaces.
Mind have also produced four webinars that contain lots of useful ideas around culture change and looking after ourselves. They were live 'surgery-style' events during which participants posted questions to Mind's panel of experts.
This handy guide explains what a Wellness Action Plan (WAP) is, how to develop and use one with staff and provides a template for you to use. Mind have a guide for line managers or supervisors who are interested in producing WAPs to their team members and a guide for employees, suitable for any staff member who would like to try a WAP for themselves.
Resources for individuals on how to manage your mental health at work
These resources have been created by Mind to support individuals in the workplace:
This details how to stay well at work, whether you're returning to the world of work after time away, are experiencing work-related stress, or trying to maintain a healthy working life.
For anyone who wants to know how to deal with stress and how to learn to relax. It explains when and how stress can be bad for you, and provides helpful strategies for dealing with it and where to go for further help.
The Workplace Wellbeing Index
In 2016, Mind will launch a Workplace Wellbeing Index which will be a benchmark of best policy and practice and will publicly rank employers on how effectively they are addressing staff mental wellbeing.
Mind will offer support and guidance to participating organisations based on their results structured to increase employee mental wellbeing and deliver business benefits.
If your organisation is interested in taking part in the Index or just finding out more about the development, then you can register your interest here.
What else does Mind offer?
- Training and consultancy - Mind's training team offers a range of in-house and public access courses, tailored to the needs of your organisation. For a quote or to discuss options, contact Mind at [email protected]
- Speaking engagements - if you are interested in Mind's Head of Workplace Wellbeing, Emma Mamo, speaking at an event or participating in a panel, contact Mind at [email protected] with details about the proposed event and the intended audience.
- Employer booklets - The range of booklets provide accessible and trusted information on a broad range of topics around mental health at work. For more information, have a look at their workplace wellbeing pack and workplace essentials pack.
- Finally, Mind's direct line: 020 8215 2311