Happy employees

Mental health awareness in the workplace

Every year, as many as one in four people in the uk experience a mental health problem.

Although many of these issues tend to be mild and short-term, the fact that they’re so common makes awareness even more important.

The events industry is undoubtedly one of the most fast-paced industries to work in. In the lead-up to event dates, it’s easy for things to get a little hectic, which can be stressful for those involved in the planning process. The industry is also a highly competitive one. And while a little healthy competition isn’t a cause for concern, too much could cause employees to burn out trying to make an impression or keep their position.

There’s no denying that the conversation around mental health has become more frequent and open than ever before. However, there’s still a stigma associated with mental health issues, which makes people less willing to open up. The social stigma also makes it harder for people to recover and suppressing problems can lead to further escalation.

The most common mental health problems faced by people in the UK are anxiety and depression, and work-related stress can be a leading cause of these. A study by Mind recently revealed that a staggering 48% of workers surveyed had experienced mental health issues in their current job. The same study also revealed that less than half of those had spoken to their employer about it.

As employers, take steps to foster a working environment that doesn’t negatively impact mental health. Place a greater emphasis on mental wellbeing and you’re likely to see higher levels of employee engagement, productivity levels, and greater retention. Not only will your staff be more engaged with work, but their personal lives will also thrive if their mental health is prioritised.

Do you have employees in your organisation displaying signs of anxiety or stress? If you spot any potential mental health issues within your staff, it’s important to deal with it in the right way and get them the help they need. Awareness is, of course, the first step. There are also preventative measures to ensure you’re doing what you can not to make things worse:

  • Make sure staff members feel supported: A good line manager can have a significant impact on an employee’s mental health. Consistent one-on-one meetings between managers and staff can help. This gives employees a chance to open up and discuss any work-related issues that may be impacting their mental health.
  • Train line managers on how to deal with mental health issues within their team: Minimise issues escalating by training company management and providing access to introductory mental health courses. Line managers should be equipped with the knowledge to deal with sensitive mental health conversations and know the appropriate next steps to help.
  • Create an environment that values work-life balance: Did you know that just a third of British employees are happy with their work-life balance? While it’s true that most of us put in the extra hours to make ourselves indispensable in a competitive workplace, work is simply not worth risking your mental health over. Employers, keep a close eye on your staff members to make sure their plates aren’t constantly overflowing. Offer flexible working when needed and keep an eye on workloads before you request help with new tasks - many employees find it hard to say no.
  • Build an open and communicative working culture: Foster a work environment where communication is encouraged. Simply taking the time to listen and understand employee concerns could ease stress levels. Make it clear that there is nothing to be ashamed of - staff members are also much more likely to express how they’re feeling if they know they won’t be judged.
  • Offer workplace benefits geared around mental health: This could include everything from mental health days to subsidised counselling to whoever needs it. Even simply offering workplace yoga or meditation events can do wonders by giving your employees a chance to disengage. Introducing such benefits will also ensure that your employees are clear how much you value mental health care.

Workplace benefits can help to ensure employees feel heard, valued and supported. In turn, this can increase retention rates and attract top industry talent. Read our blog post about the workplace benefits that will show your employees how much you care.

  • Offer employees a chance to recharge with incentive activities: Not only can this help them feel more appreciated, the time away can provide so much needed stress relief. Other than holidays (which employees should never be discouraged from taking), incentive events can offer a chance for a break to switch off from the ‘real world’.
  • Encourage your employees to take time for self-care: A study of professionals revealed that me-time is essential for mental well-being. Even simple steps such as taking a walk around the street rather than having lunch on your desk can make all the difference as exercise and fresh air rejuvenate you. Now, this isn’t something that you can make your employees do. Just make sure they know that, as an organisation, you value self-care.

With our increasingly stressful lives, mental health awareness should be a huge focus for any organisation. Increased awareness can also help us to identify any problems in both ourselves and others, helping to ensure no one is suffering in silence.

There are several mental health courses to help increase understanding amongst you and your employees. Remember, simply starting a conversation on this topic may encourage people to recognise issues and open up. Even if that isn’t to anyone in the workplace, increased awareness of mental health could lead to your employees opening up to a friend or a relative who could help. As a society, bringing these issues to light makes it easier for people to feel comfortable talking about them. If anything, it can help them feel less alone and more supported.