Mental Health: Tips for
During Mental Health Awareness Week a few of our employers in Hertfordshire had
me going round done some talks to their Managers and HR teams on the important
things for them to do.
I was given a challenge by an employer last year "You're a qualified psychologist,
you also have HR qualifications and have run HR operations, and you're in public
health. If anyone should be able to navigate a pathway for us, it's you."
So here's my take, from reading the evidence across psychology, diversity, public
health, mental health and business strategy, on top tips for employers:
1. Identify what you can do to build a positive psychosocial workplace for
everyone? You'll probably find there is lots. If you dont know where to start
get staff to identify it. Even do some staff engagement. Doing this, harnessing
enthuasiasm and creativity will improve workplace happiness and improve
a. Try this Kings Fund resource
b. Derek Mowbray also has resources on building a psychologically
healthy workplace http://www.mas.org.uk/positive-work-
2. Invest in building the resilience of your managers and staff . This is really
important for business success and employee wellbeing. This resource from
Derek Mowbray is excellent. I've now used it with over 100 people
3. Encourage your staff to develop a self care plan . Its not just about how they
are resilient but how are they staying motivated, engaged, having time to be
outside work and thrive. The essence of self care is being able to keep
yourself motivated and engaged physically, psychologically, spiritually and
socially. So from having a good sleep routine and diet to having enough time
during the working day for some pauses it's all important.
4. How do you care for the people in your workplace who care for others? That
PA for whom nothing is too much trouble? The person who is always helpful?
Keeping them happy, motivated and engaged is a key to your organisation
being a psychologically healthy place.
5. Remember that Counselling is not always the answer. If the organization
needs to change, and is causing the problem, then counselling can just be a
band-aid approach to an organisation that's not healthy. Look at your sources
of stress and counselling. Is it time to take a policy approach to some of
6. Train people up in basic mental health issues and make sure people with
issues know where to go to. In Hertfordshire any employer can get this for
free, funded by Public Health, delivered by Business in the Community with
7. Look again at your policies. How do you help people with mental health issues
balance work and life and come back into work? How do you stage work
returns when people have been unable to work? What are the attitudes in the
8. Look again at your diversity policy - it's probably the case that you're serving
some protected characteristics much better than others. Do trans people feel
valued? Can people of faith feel included and valued? Do you make one
diversity strand touchy feely and others are privatised? That's not how to
build a healthy workplace
9. Think about person-organisation fit. Are you a workplace where the people
who really fit are able to be open about mental health issues without stigma?
Can they be open about what's important to them? (Their gender, sexuality,
faith, disability, whatever....) No? Then you're building in needless
obsolesence to your most valuable resource - people power. Think again
about person-organisation fit for new and existing employees, and whether
that can help you prevent some absentee or health or culture problems.