Mental health has been shown to improve trust among employees, encourage open dialogue around mental health and effectively up-skill an employee's ability to support issues with mental health in the workplace.

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There is still a great deal of ignorance and stigma surrounding mental health issues in the workplace. Many people are uncertain about how to recognise a mental illness and how to respond when faced with it. This might result in unwittingly stigmatising behaviours and attitudes, meaning that those in need of mental health help and support do not receive it or may even find the workplace exacerbates their symptoms.

Your willingness to open up an honest conversation about mental health with your employees is exactly the kind of support that so many people want and need right now. Let us answer some common questions from employers and then highlight our four main reasons mental health training should be at the top of your agenda heading into 2022.

Why do managers need mental health training?

Our training helps everyone from employers to executive leaders learn the tools for providing a mentally fit workplace that is good for business. They will learn to use early identification principles, bolstered with CBT evidence-based interventions to support employees. Removing the taboo is vital to early detection and future-proofing employee mental health.

  • Spot the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues
  • Provide non-judgemental support and reassurance
  • Guide a person to seek professional support

Is mental health training a legal requirement in the UK?

Mental health training in the workplace is a recommendation, not legislation, so employers must meet no set requirement to have sufficient mental health provision. ​​However, NICE and Public Health England have released a guideline on Mental Wellbeing at Work that covers how to create the right conditions to support mental wellbeing at work through an environment and culture of participation, equality, safety and fairness in the workplace based on open communication.

What is the impact of poor mental health in the workplace?

The largest causes of sickness absence for our country's/ workforce are depression, stress, and anxiety. Mental illness costs UK businesses up to £45 billion every year. This equates to sick leave, substituting employees who vacate their roles, reduced productivity and employees showing up to work who are not fully functioning.

Onebright's director of clinical and business operations and cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT), Shamira Graham, urges employers to understand the mental health issues their employees could be facing. Below she outlines four key benefits of mental health training in the workplace.

Raises awareness of mental illnesses

When employers implement mental health training, they normalise meaningful conversations around the most common mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Often, mental health is seen as 'invisible', but organisations have the power to transform how we show up for our colleagues, so no one has to suffer in silence. When people feel comfortable talking about their mental health with others, they’re less likely to become disengaged or withdraw.

Encourages early intervention to aid recovery

Taking steps to prevent poor mental health from developing is more effective than waiting until people become ill. In troubling times where an employee needs additional support, employers must be equipped with the right skills to recognise the early warning signs and be confident enough to encourage professional help where necessary. By becoming more informed and aware, employees and managers can spot the signs sooner rather than later. This reduces the likelihood of mild symptoms becoming more severe and can make recovery easier.

Increases confidence in dealing with mental illnesses

According to a recent study, three in five UK business leaders say they now feel more responsible for their employees' mental health and wellbeing since the beginning of the pandemic. If managers can have confident conversations about mental health without feeling like they may overstep their boundaries, they can reduce the risk of presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover. Finding that line between offering support and offering solutions can be more straightforward with training.

Reduces stigma around mental health issues

Someone with poor mental health may not realise it, making it harder for managers to address. Even if they do realise, they may be reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. For an employee experiencing a mental health issue, your organisation’s informed, and supportive response is likely to lead to a much more beneficial outcome.

Onebright's goal is to encourage employers to put employee wellbeing first. Learn more about our training and consultancy by heading to our employee mental health training page. All sessions can be done online, video conference, telephone, or in-person. Accredited CBT therapists facilitate the sessions.

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