Five ways to promote positive mental health in the workplace
Traditionally workplaces in Ireland focused on promoting physical health and wellbeing, however due to the rise of mental health issues which can often be directly caused by stressful working environments, employers must support both mental and physical health.
Mental health has become a major issue here in Ireland and with people working an average 40-hour week, it can often be difficult to switch off after office hours which can cause damage to our mental health. The World Health Organisation found that 27 percent of European adults have experienced at least one mental disorder in the past year, with anxiety and depression being the main symptoms. The organisation also estimates that in Europe over 83 million adults are affected by mental illness which is currently on the rise.
Here are some helpful tips on how to promote positive mental health at work.
Employers have a duty of care when it comes to their employee’s mental health. They must ensure they are creating an open workplace where employees feel valued and comfortable when speaking about their wellbeing. Encouraging employee engagement with mental health initiatives can build morale, boost job satisfaction and improve workplace communication.
Providing seminars that focus on the issue can help kick start the conversation and make people feel more at ease when discussing their mental health at work. Allowing employees to become more knowledgeable can also help them to understand what their colleagues might be going through. LAYA Healthcare carried out a recent survey which found that 82 per cent of people in Ireland believe that the conversation around mental health needs to change, with 75 per cent agreeing that a stigma still exists around those suffering from anxiety. This is an alarming fact, one that can be changed easily, the more we support and discuss the issue the sooner the taboo surrounding it can be removed.
Creating a healthy working environment can have a positive impact on employees. Simple things like providing healthy snacks, flexible working hours or team building activities can allow to reduce stress and aid in the prevention of mental health problems. Ensuring that employees have the materials and equipment they need to be productive can help prevent tension and stress as work can be carried out seamlessly and on time.
Encouraging your employees to get out in the fresh air will have a positive results both on their wellbeing and productivity. The benefits of physical activities like team building exercises or simply just getting away from your desk for a lunchtime stroll as a team can promote wellbeing and boost team morale. Here at Glandore we have had weekly running clubs, we attend city marathons and provide showers for employees who want to exercise before work or at lunch. We love to support employees who want take care of their health and wellbeing while also doing something fun together. These activities have also helped reduce stress levels and anxiety.
Providing employees with useful resources and support services can help them address their health issues more confidently. Having guest speakers come in to discuss mental health and provide employees access to clinics and services they need can help prevent their health from detoriating further.
It is important for both employees and employers to understand this illness and have access to trusted resources that will help promote recovery. At Glandore we strive to support our employees and members the best we can and try to ensure that they work in a safe and supportive environment. We offer a number of different programmes to our employee and members that promote self-care and mindfulness in order to create a happy, healthy, stress free team.
People often find it easier to speak to a fellow team member as opposed to a member of management if they need some help. Setting up a peer support programme will provide employees with a unique opportunity to help each other. It will allow colleagues to share skills and knowledge while also supporting each other mentally. Mentoring and peer support schemes can be of great benefit to people who suffer from anxiety and depression as it addresses and prevents mental health issues that may later become bigger problems. These support systems often lead to increased self-esteem and improved confidence in their work.