Our mental health impacts every area of our lives. If a member of your team is living with a mental health difficultly or struggling with their mental wellbeing it can mean lost sleep, strained relationships and difficulty concentrating at work. This can have a big impact on your business too. Analysis by Deloitte estimates that poor mental health costs UK employers £42 – £45 billion a year – a 16% increase since 20161. This comprises £7bn in absence costs, £27bn – £29bn in presenteeism costs and £9bn in costs of staff turnover1.
With approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year2, and UK SMEs losing 28 working days a year to poor mental health3, it’s more crucial than ever for business owners to support the mental wellbeing of their team.
What causes mental health difficulties in the workplace?
While mental health problems are very personal to each individual, there can sometimes be common themes when trying to understand work-place triggers. Research by Business in the Community found that the biggest causes were1:
Pressure – competing priorities and unrealistic deadlines (52%)
Working overtime and/or rarely taking leave due to workload (36%)
Not feeling supported (35%)
Challenging work relationships (33%)
Work may contribute but may not always be the sole cause of mental health challenges amongst employees. However, being able to identify areas within the workplace that may be contributing towards increased levels of stress, which can exacerbate to, or trigger, a period of poor mental health can help business owners to identify where improvements can be made to particular processes or where HR issues may need addressing.
Tips to help support the mental health of your team
Dr Mark Winwood, Clinical Psychologist at COACH Medical, shares his advice for how business owners can support the mental health of their team.
- Be open and honest. In order to raise awareness and normalise discussions around mental health, it is helpful if business owners and managers try and be open and encourage members of their team to share their experiences. Having members of the senior management team share their own experiences of managing their own mental health challenges and their techniques for improving their emotional resilience can have a big impact on the rest of the business with regards to normalising the discussion.
- Analyse the workplace. While it’s not possible to eradicate all work pressures, reviewing the current workplace may help you to identify areas that may be adding to employees’ stress, such as unnecessary processes that could be streamlined. Involve your team in these discussions to increase engagement and commitment to process simplification.
- Educate your managers. Empower line managers within your business to feel comfortable discussing mental health and wellbeing with their team by providing them with training and support in how to handle the conversations. You could also provide them with training on how to spot symptoms of high levels of stress and common mental health problems, so they can identify when a member of their team may be struggling.
- Communicate the support available. Make sure that any support that you have available for your team is clearly communicated so employees know where they can go for help and support. Ensure that your line managers are aware of this too, so they can point their team in the right direction.
- Encourage a positive work life balance. A positive work life balance is essential for employee wellbeing. It helps employees to be more resilient and less likely to succumb to overwhelming stress. Modelling positive work life balance behaviours yourself, such as leaving the office at a reasonable time every day and making use of your lunch break, can help to encourage your team to do the same.
Dr Mark A. Linwood – D.Psych, MSc, BA(Hons), C.Psychol, C.Sci, AFBPsS
Mark spent 10 years at St Marys Hospital and The Royal Free Hospital before becoming the Mental Health Clinical Lead for a leading private healthcare company developing bespoke psychological health interventions for individual employees and organisations. He is currently a Principal Psychologist at Barts NHS Trust and one of our expert practioners at Coach Medical powered by SixTen.
He uses an integrative approach to tailor the most appropriate treatment/intervention/support for each person. The range of therapies utilised include Cognitive Behavioural, Systemic, Humanistic & Solution Focussed Therapy. Mark has over 30 years experience supporting individuals dealing with a broad range of issues including: Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Stress, Sexual Health, Medical Conditions, Work Related Problems, Trauma, Resilience, Insomnia, Abuse, Self-esteem, Loss and Bereavement.
How we can help
We are currently offering a 30 minute complimentary resilience check-in with Dr. Mark Winwood. This session will teach you how to utilise your natural resilience to overcome the hurdles and challenges of navigating life in the new post-pandemic world. Mark will help you to build the right skills and mindset. to allow you to think about how to incorporate mental wellness into your everyday life.
Our complimentary resilience sessions with Mark will be available from April to June only. For more information on the services offered by Coach Medical, and to book your 30 minute session, call us on +44 (0) 207 315 4260 or email email@example.com.
Sources and references
1Deloitte UK, Mental health and employers 2020