Earlier this week, Prince William officially launched a new website designed to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace. The website, entitled ‘Mental Health at Work’, has been funded by the Royal Foundation and created in partnership with mental health charity Mind.
This website will be open to all organisations and offers a number of free to use resources designed for both employers and their staff. Individuals are encouraged to make use of tailored training programmes, toolkits and case studies which cover a variety of topics associated with mental ill health.
The intention is that this website will go some way to breaking the stigma currently surrounding mental health. Encouraging more open discussion around a topic that has traditionally been considered taboo in the workplace, whilst providing organisations with the resources to make supporting employees part of their everyday business practices.
This launch coincides with a related survey carried out by Mind which found that 48% of UK employees have experienced mental health problems in the current job, only half of whom felt comfortable enough to disclose this with their organisation.
It is clear that organisations have an important role to play in improving mental health at work and creating an environment where staff feel comfortable disclosing any issues is an important first step. Although some may be reluctant to act given concerns over costs and resources, a failure to address the issue could in fact prove to be more expensive as a 2017 Deloitte study estimated mental health issues cost UK employers between £44billion and £42billion in absences and lost productivity.
Organisations should therefore make the most of any available resources, including the Mental Health at Work Website, to improve mental health support for their staff. Line managers should be trained to spot the early signs of stress and depression and be given the power to amend employee workloads to alleviate the situation.
Employee Assistance Programmes are a useful way of supporting staff, providing confidential support through counselling services which can help employees deal with difficult scenarios either at home or at work. Another alternative would be to introduce a trained mental health first aider in the workplace who employers can discuss any issues with in person and be provided with the right support and direction.
Ultimately organisations that take a positive approach to mental health support will be better off in the long run. Those who include this is as an integral part of their workplace culture stand to be rewarded with improved morale, increased productivity and a reduction in sickness absence.