As we shared recently, we have increasingly heard from managers over the past few months, who have noticed an increase in the number of people in their team experiencing compromised mental health.
It’s not surprising when we consider the impact of the Covid situation on our lives and work. You can read more about the Covid Effect here.
When considering how to better support people, it’s important to recognise that whilst employers have a responsibility to protect the mental health of the people who work in the organisation, we as managers are not responsible for an individuals’ mental health.
Ultimately, responsibility for our own mental health lies with us.
As a manager, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent compromised mental health, and/or to not exacerbate it, as a result of work.
However, when compromised mental health occurs as a result of life’s challenges, as long as we encourage open dialogue around it, make a conversation both possible and easy, and signpost appropriate support, the rest is up to the individual.
This is akin to a building site providing safety conditions, including a hard hat for employees to wear – the employee still needs to actually wear it in order to protect their own health and safety.
What support is appropriate?
In addition to the incorporation of Wellness Action Plans, which you can read about here, there are many resources that you can signpost as a manager, and of course, the type of support you sign post will depend on the outcome of your own conversations with the person.
- Your Employee Assistance Programme
If they appear to have some specific concerns that are causing them distress, like for instance, a relationship breakdown, parenting issues, or financial concerns, you might remind them of the Employee Assistance Programme (if your organisation has one). An EAP is often available, but people are often not aware of it, have forgotten about it, or how to access it.
- Your Mental Health First Aiders
If they appear to be in distress and you feel out of your depth, you might suggest to them that you refer them to one of your internal Mental Health First Aiders who are trained to have a conversation with someone who is really struggling. Whilst MHFA’s (you can read about MHFA here) might be more skilled at having a support conversation, they will always suggest the person contacts their GP.
- Their GP
If they appear to be really struggling and you are concerned about them, or not sure where to signpost them, their GP is a good first port of call. Often GP’s get bad press when it comes to mental health, over physical health, but the truth is that focus on mental health has increased and many GP’s surgeries have mental health teams who are highly skilled at supporting people who are struggling.
- Our online support services resource
You can suggest they check out our online support services resource, which is on our website and provides information about dozens of organisations that offer help with a number of different aspects of mental health. Sometimes it might be appropriate to sit down with them and look through this resource together as part of a mental health conversation (you can read about how to have one of those here), and to highlight one or two options for support as part of your agreed solution.
- Our Mental Health Awareness Workshop
If your organisation has invested in mental health awareness training with us, you can recommend that they attend that. If this training is not available, you can point them to our digital training platform where they can sign up to attend the digital version of this course. Often, just learning about how our brain works and the role of happy hormones in mental health can make a really big difference.
- Our Happy DOSE Facebook Group
And you can also suggest they join our online Facebook group where we are always sharing useful information around mental health and reminding people of what they’ve learnt in our training and encouraging them to apply it.
In addition to these tools, we would also recommend teaming up with a colleague who is also a manager and creating a sort of buddy relationship where you can each support each other, so that you have someone to talk to should things get difficult for you.
To discuss how you can improve your mental health support provision, get in touch.