Good mental health at work
For many of us, work is a huge part of our lives, both in time and mental capacity. Having a fulfilling job, and a job you enjoy can be good for both your mental health and your wellbeing. It also brings structure and a sense of teamwork into your life.
Sometimes it gets on top of us
We all want to be able to leave work at work, but sometimes it can get on top of us. It could be deadlines, travel, learning something new or a company culture not being what you expected. But along with the many ways you can help yourself stay well (covered in a different blog!), there are various things that your employer can or should be doing too .
Mental health first aider
Many companies have a “mental health first aider”. Their role is to be a first point of contact for someone who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. The contact could range from an initial conversation, or supporting the individual to get appropriate help. Ask your line manager if you have mental health first aiders within your company.
Employee Assistance Programme
Many companies offer something called an Employee Assistance Programme (or EAP) provided by different companies across the country. An EAP is a confidential programme that supports employees with personal and/or work related problems that may be affecting your performance at work or your mental wellbeing. Each EAP is different, but many offer similar services including:
- Confidential 24/7 helpline
- Counselling sessions (this usually has a limit)
- Access to a website with various well being tools (i.e. videos, or worksheets)
- Access to a range of advisors (I.e. financial, legal)
Information discussed during any sessions with the EAP is 100% confidential. The company you work for will not receive any information disclosed during your meetings.
Duty of Care
Employers have a duty of care to their employees to do everything they reasonably can to support an employee’s health (both mental health and physical health) and well being. This includes:
- Providing 121 time between the line manager and the employee, to give the employee the opportunity to discuss any issues that may arise.
- Ensuring the working environment is safe.
- Ensuring that all team members have the correct tools to complete the job role.
- If necessary carrying out risk assessments, and putting into place any required reasonable adjustments.
Reasonable adjustments are sometimes required, and are something that can be discussed with your line manager, this is great example of the importance of communication as very often it’s quite straightforward to tweak arrangements without impacting your ability to do a good job. This might be a later starting time, whilst an individual settles into new medication that affects their sleep, or increased working from home time in a hybrid working environment, as travelling could increase anxiety. This could also mean a temporary flexible working contract (if the company allows) to help with something on a short term basis, or increased breaks. The key thing is to talk, and to take forward your questions before anything starts negatively impacting your mental health.
Where to go for help
It’s a big topic, but if you feel things are getting on top of you always talk to your friends, family or GP. You might also find useful information in the following places;
Acas is a great support for further help. https://www.acas.org.uk/supporting-mental-health-workplace
Mind also has some great information.