Dani Saadu: Could employers do more to support the mental health of staff?

As workplace dynamics continue to evolve and mental health issues become more prevalent, employers are responsible for proactively supporting their employees’ mental wellbeing. While this is important all year round, World Mental Health Day serves as a poignant reminder of the significance of collective action in this critical area.

Organisations should start by promoting open communication and acceptance of employee mental health. This can be implemented by encouraging employees to regularly check in by providing a safe space to express their concerns. Furthermore, offering training programmes to managers on identifying and addressing mental health issues can help with early intervention and support.

Employers can also promote mental wellbeing by providing flexible work arrangements. This can significantly benefit employees as it allows them to balance their work commitments with personal needs and responsibilities, ultimately considerably reducing stress and anxiety. Options such as remote work, flexible hours, and compressed workweeks can profoundly impact an individual’s mental health.

Employers should provide employees access to comprehensive mental health resources and benefits, such as employee assistance programmes and counselling services. By making these resources accessible and well promoted, employers can encourage their staff to seek help and create a supportive and caring work environment.

Wellness initiatives that encompass physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing can also be integrated into the workplace. Activities such as yoga classes, meditation sessions, and stress management workshops can equip employees with the skills to manage their mental health effectively.

In conclusion, employers are pivotal in fostering a mentally healthy work environment. By prioritising open communication, offering flexible work arrangements, providing access to mental health resources, and implementing holistic wellness programs, employers can support their staff and contribute to a more productive, engaged, and harmonious workforce. On this World Mental Health Day, let us collectively commit to these measures and usher in an era of enhanced well-being for all.

Dani Saadu is head of people and culture at Wavemaker

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