5 Tips to Support Your Teams Mental Wellbeing

We are doing a much better job at recognising our ‘whole selves’ in the workplace.  A key topic close to our hearts is mental health.  It is great to see companies approaching mental wellbeing support positively and reviewing benefits programmes to ensure their people are supported in the best possible way.  We have got to keep the dialogue going.

1 in 4 people will suffer a mental health condition of some kind in any given year in England (source: Mind).  That is a lot of people.  Next time you are in a crowded room, take a moment to reflect on that statistic.  What does that mean for us as human beings, as friends, as family members and as Leaders?  How can we be better?  How can we ask for help?

Before anything else, supporting mental wellbeing is the right thing to do. Now we’re clear on that, let’s look at mental health at work and why providing a safe psychological environment makes good business sense.

Positive mental health both at work and home allows individuals to cope with life’s challenges, An individual or team with positive mental health is more productive, agile and resilient to any change or challenges that come their way. We all know the only constant is change.  As employee wellbeing and performance go hand in hand, supporting employee’s health enables your people to reach their highest potential, while directly impacting your bottom line. Here are some tips as food for thought.

1. Keep an Open Dialogue

It is easy to say we need to keep the conversation of mental health going but do we really expect someone struggling to be open about that, when they are potentially at a very low point?  They should not have to lead the way.  Courageous leadership is about sharing your own vulnerabilities or life experiences that help your people to see your human side.  By speaking out, you make it easier for people behind you to follow suit without the fear of discrimination.

2. Review Support Available

Ensure your people have access to the right support, options such as healthcare programmes, Employee Assistance Programmes, Occupational Health or Mental Health First Aiders are commonplace in corporate environments.  These should be continuously championed so that they are not perceived as being filed away in a policy somewhere.  Leaders also need to be equipped to support their people in the right way.

3. Promote Healthy Habits

Encouraging good physical health, nutrition, mindfulness and so on are great ways to show a dedicated focus on health.  Charity matching or volunteering programmes are also ways to help people feel that they are making a difference and supporting others – this has a positive impact on engagement as well as mental health.

4. Learn the Signs and Look After Each Other

In a previous blog we talked about the importance of getting to know your people.  In life it’s important that we look out for each other.  Some things that you can look out for are as follows.

  • Changes in a person’s demeanour (becoming upset more easily, withdrawing from their usual activates).
  • Poor timekeeping, attendance and staying late at work.
  • Being unable to say no.
  • Changes in productivity.
  • Changes in socialising with the team.
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns.
  • Change in personal appearance.

If you are concerned about someone, don’t be afraid to speak out.  Sometimes a ‘how are you?’ followed by a ‘how are you really?’ will help someone open up.  Remember to use the support you have available to assist you in supporting someone else, whoever that may be in your working environment (for example your HR department can be a good place to start).

5. Enable Your People to Support Each Other

There is great training available from organisations such as Mind on mental health awareness.  These courses can help people to know what language to use and how to signpost someone to help.  Often, people are too scared to ‘say the wrong thing’ and opt to say nothing as it feels safer.  We need to do a better job of supporting everyone to be confident in this space.

In Summary

At Penha-Longa we are extremely passionate about supporting mental wellbeing and health.  We are not mental health specialists, but we do feel strongly about people’s overall wellbeing and their ability to engage with and enjoy their working lives.  If we can help support you there, please get in touch for a no-obligation discovery call.

Mia Tse

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