Top tips to improve mental health awareness in your workplace

It’s no secret that mental health is somewhat of a grey area, and as a result has become a difficult topic of conversation amongst many. Still, it remains a very real issue – both in the workplace and in our personal lives. Mental health issues, from stress to anxiety, can take their toll on our mood and productivity levels – but how, exactly, can we ensure that this is given enough attention in the working environment?

Evidence suggests that high productivity levels are linked to good levels of mental wellbeing. So, although it’s important to regulate this for our own personal health, it’s also beneficial for our work performance and self-esteem. When we’re experiencing positive mental health, we tend to feel more in control and a sense of purpose – giving us the motivation to get through the day, no matter how challenging it might be.

Important signs to look out for

It’s a good idea to know the basics when it comes to mental health issues, for your own benefit as well as others. If you notice that you’re feeling more tired than usual or drained for an abnormal period of time, you might need to look at re-adjusting your work-life balance. Additionally, if you find that you, or someone else, is becoming more isolated or avoiding others, this could also be a cause for concern.

Have an open door policy

Many employees who are experiencing mental health issues avoid talking to others because they’re afraid of the response they may receive. However, it’s important to remember that everyone has the right to express themselves and should do so if they’re struggling with their mental health, no matter how severe. As the employer, ensure that your employees are aware that you have an ‘open door policy’ – perhaps, you could schedule a period each day where employees are invited to walk in to your office and talk about any issues they might be having.

Encourage employees to eat well and stay active

Eating a nutritious diet and living an active lifestyle are fundamental to maintaining a healthy mental state. As an employer, there are actions you can take to encourage this amongst your employees. You could, for example, provide free healthy snacks – such as a communal fruit bowl that’s freshly stocked every day, or offering nutritious meals if your budget allows. Additionally, you could include a gym membership as part of your employee benefit scheme, or host regular on-site exercise sessions, offering incentives to those who get involved.

Encourage a good work-life balance

The key to preventing burnout and feelings of overwhelm is achieving a sufficient work-life balance. It’s tempting for some to work overtime, particularly when their workload increases – but succumbing to this too often can have negative impacts on physical and mental wellbeing. As an employer, you can show your employees that you respect their need for relaxation by encouraging them to spend time doing things they love during the working week. For example, you could ask your employees what they like doing, and organise group activities accordingly. Alternatively, you could offer incentives to those who go home on time each day.

Mental health should never be overlooked in the workplace, and as we head further into the 21st century, it seems that it’s increasingly gaining awareness and becoming less of a stigma. If you’re unsure how you can improve mental health awareness in your workplace, speak to a member of our team here.

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