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Mental health at work my tips for employers

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This document is a quick guide for employers to the key things they can do on improving and retaining the mental health of their staff

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Mental health at work my tips for employers

  1. 1. Mental Health: Tips for Employers Jim McManus 2016 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 your productivity. a. Try this Kings Fund resource http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/staff-engagement b. Derek Mowbray also has resources on building a psychologically healthy workplace http://www.mas.org.uk/positive-work- culture/psychologically-healthy-workplaces.html 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 http://www.mas.org.uk/management-advisory-service/managing- resilience.html 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.
  2. 2. 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 these? 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 accredited trainers. 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 workplace like? 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.

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