As our Mental Health Week, in association with Benenden Health, draws to a close, it is time to reflect on some of the trends and issues currently shaping this area of the benefits market.
The issue of mental health has slowly been climbing its way up employers’ agendas, with an increasing number of organisations looking closely at the benefits, communications and support systems that can affect staff mental wellbeing and help develop emotional resilience.
A relatively new initiative that is being embraced by many businesses is to introduce mental health first aiders. These individuals are trained to identify the symptoms of mental health problems, effectively support individuals suffering from emotional distress and supply information on gaining the right professional support. However, to ensure they are effective employers must take some practical steps to highlight their purpose, as well as making an effort to open communications around a potentially difficult topic.
Some organisations are now also considering how they can tailor their mental health support to different groups of workers in terms of factors such as age, job role or location. Other influences might include remote and home working, as these individuals may need different types of support to those based in the workplace. In addition, some mental health conditions are specific to certain industry sectors, so employers may choose to offer targeted support in these areas.
Another factor that can have an impact on mental health but that is sometimes overlooked is the physical working space. Lighting, decor and plants, for example, can all influence how employees feel. Of course, there are also provisions that employers can put in place to support good mental health, such as meditation or wellbeing rooms.
For some employers, the key issue will centre around organisational culture and how they can create an open and honest environment, in which individuals feel confident about discussing any mental health issues they may have.
Whatever stage you are at, and however you support mental wellbeing in your organisation, Mental Health Week was designed to help take this to the next level through exclusive insights and opinions uncovering best practice in this area. These included:
- Thames Water embeds mental health first aid in a culture of care
- How to ensure mental health first aiders are effective
- Carrie Pairman: Mental health first aid is a must for businesses to fully support their staff
- Dynamo uses its working environment to improve employees’ mental wellbeing
- What impact can the physical workplace have on mental health?
- Elaine Rossall: Workplaces that encourage activity can improve employee wellbeing
- Charlton Morris uses employee surveys to tailor mental health workshops
- How mental health approaches can be targeted to workforce demographics
- Helen Smith: Workplace mental health – how to be caring, not just compliant
- Dr Alison Carter: Mindfulness can help support good mental health