Ask the expert: Supporting mental health

The Business Health Matters programme was created to help improve the overall health and wellbeing of employees throughout the county.

Businesses tell us that the health and wellbeing conversation can be overwhelming and even conflicting at times and that knowing where to start is notoriously difficult.

So, in this regular column, we answer your workplace health questions and help you find the support you need within your own organisation.

In this edition, we answer a question commonly asked by employers: what help can they provide to support the mental health of their employees?

How can I better support my team’s mental health?

In a recent report by the University of Central Lancashire, it was found that more than half of the region’s workers are suffering from mental health issues (UCLan, 2022).

The Work In Lancashire: Understanding Job Quality and Productivity in the Region report surveyed workers on a number of topics and found that more than 50 per cent of respondents have reported that stress, anxiety or depression was caused by or made worse by work in the last 12 months.

Employers are also reporting to us that their primary health and wellbeing concern is mental health. Whether that is identifying the right support for employees or offering initiatives that can help maintain good mental health overall.

But where should an employer start?

We believe open communication with employees to identify the priorities is key. Could you make a drop-in slot available in your diary for colleagues to bring you their current challenges and suggestions? How about an anonymous survey that is sent to employees to gather insight in relation to the factors that may be contributing to employees’ mental health? This way, you will have a clearer picture and your employees will feel heard, which is great place to start.

We then recommend empowering your team with the knowledge to understand mental health and the skills to support their colleagues. This can be in the form of specific training, such as Lancashire Mind’s Managing Mental Health In The Workplace course for line managers or supervisors, or the fully-funded Business Health Matters Workplace Health Champion qualification (supported by the European Social Fund) which outlines the factors that contribute to good workplace health, as well as giving employees the tools to make positive changes for years to come.

Your team will then have a wealth of knowledge and skills to support each other and will feel more valued thanks to the upskilling that has been delivered.

So, if you would like to get started and speak to us about possible routes of support for your team’s mental health, please get in touch with us on 01772 299838 or email businesshealthmatters@activelancashire.org.uk

Enjoyed this? Read more from Gemma Haigh, Business Health Matters

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