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mental health

Lack of psychological safety in work ‘could hinder inclusion initiatives’

New data reveals that over a tenth of the workforce do not want to be identified when discussing their feelings towards inclusion in the workplace, sparking concerns for the psychological safety of employees at work.

The report from Inpulse also shows that groups that wish to remain anonymous are less likely to feel positive about being themselves at work. For example,individuals who do not disclose their ethnicity feel 43% less positive about being themselves at work than those who disclose their ethnicity, individuals that don’t disclose their gender feel 14% less positive about being themselves at work than those who reveal their gender and individuals that don’t disclose their disability status feel 18% less positive than those who disclose their ability status.

According to Inpulse, these statistics highlight a cultural concern for employers around the psychological safety they are creating for their employees within diversity and inclusion initiatives. They warn that organisations must help their employees feel more comfortable about talking openly about their experiences or risk being unable to identify the groups and areas that need most support. 

Matt Stephens, CEO of Inpulse, said: “Creating psychological safety is essential for successful D&I and engagement strategies so that employees feel comfortable expressing their true concerns so employers can accurately target issues that stifle their employees’ achievements and wellbeing. 

“If there’s a strong belief among employees that they will be punished or embarrassed for speaking openly with their ideas, questions and concerns, then there is a real problem with the psychological safety of employees. 

“However, the fact that 1 in ten workers feels this way is particularly concerning. When an emotion is felt by more than 10% of the workforce, this is the point in which it becomes dominant within a culture and can be felt strongly by others in the group – potentially negatively impacting business performance.”

Emphasising the problem further, Inpulse’s survey reveals that while many employees agree that their organisation is inclusive, they are less likely to agree that this is due to encouragement from their employer. On average, 80% agreed that the culture within the organisation is inclusive to all, regardless of differences; however, just 69% agreed that their organisation encourages diversity and inclusion.

To improve their D&I strategies, Inpulse provides five ways employers can develop psychological safety for employees:

1. Quash negativity

Negativity can be as contagious as positivity, therefore leaders must address negative attitudes before they begin to create psychological safety at work. For example, if people hear a colleague speaking badly of a team member then they may worry the person will do the same to them. Leaders should tackle negativity by giving constructive feedback to negative colleagues and counteracting it with a warm and positive atmosphere.

2. Show empathy 

To emphasise that you truly care about employee concerns, really listen to how they are feeling. Demonstrate that you are taking their thoughts on board too by playing back to them what you have heard and thanking them for their feedback.

3. Include colleagues in decision making 

Gather input from your team and colleagues when making decisions, particularly ones that will affect them. Collaborating with others will not only produce the best outcome but will also help people feel valued and a sense of belonging.

4. Admit when you make mistakes 

Leaders must own up to their mistakes and celebrate failures as learnings. This will help team members understand that they won’t be punished for their own mistakes and also help them feel more comfortable speaking up when there are problems.

5. Promote healthy conflict 

Emphasise to your team that healthy conflict can lead to innovation, giving people permission to disagree. Ask questions in a certain way that allows people to feel that you are debating their ideas rather than judging them as a person because of their ideas. 

Data taken from employee emotion surveys conducted in 2021. For survey responses regarding whether employees feel they can be themselves at work, there were 7743 respondents. For survey responses regarding whether employees feel that the culture in their organisation is inclusive to all regardless of differences, there were 6284 respondents.

Counselling needs spike 145% as lockdown eases

Employers may think that the easing of lockdown will result in an improvement in mental health, but figures released by Towergate Health & Protection suggest that employees may be in greater need of support than ever.

Figures from one of firm’s leading employee assistance programme (EAP) providers show a pronounced increase in utilisation as lockdown eases, compared with figures from the first and most strict lockdown. During March 2021, counselling calls increased by 145% over the figures from March 2020, with numbers exceeding the peak previously seen in July 2020.

Brett Hill, distribution director for Towergate Health & Protection, said: “It would be understandable for employers to think that the peak time for stress would have been in March 2020, when the country was in the midst of the most severe lockdown. However, the figures show that utilisation of counselling provision has increased significantly as things have begun to open up again. There may be many reasons for this, including the anxiety of returning to work and the stresses of resuming the rush and tumult of everyday life.”

By far the majority of calls for counselling services have been regarding anxiety, followed by low mood, then depression. The increase in service use is evident across both traditional access points via the telephone, and online.

During these uncertain times, EAP support for employees can prove invaluable. Offered as an integral part of many existing employee benefits, such as income protection and life assurance, or as a standalone, EAPs can offer a great range of employee support. The programme will typically include assessment, short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their immediate family, wherever they are in the world. The provision is intended to help employees deal with personal problems that may adversely affect their health and wellbeing and work performance.

The need for employee support is huge. This leading EAP provider received over 33,000 calls, delivered 23,000 structured therapy sessions and received over 11,000 hits on its online portal in April 2021. Without a programme in place to support employees via EAPs and other wellbeing benefits, employers can be left to pick up the pieces.

EAPs are there for immediate assistance, to provide support when it is needed. They also help employees to build foundations to better manage their own wellbeing, such as with virtual training sessions on topics such as stress management and coping with change. So they can help build mental resilience too, and this can not only support the mental health of each individual but of those around them too.

Hill continued: “As a population, we have had to cope with a great deal over the last year or so. It should perhaps not be surprising that this has had a knock-on effect. We have been conditioned to become socially distant, and the return to busy offices, a hectic commute, and a gear-change in life in general are all likely to bring with them stress and anxiety. The good news is, there’s a lot that employers can do to make sure these problems do not escalate and affect working life. Support is available and employers should make use of it to ensure the wellbeing of their workforce.”

Study finds construction workers at higher risk of suicide

Initiatives aimed at protecting the mental health of construction workers may not be getting to those who need them, leading to an increased risk of suicide, researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University have warned.

The new findings come after academics at the University’s Research Centre for Built Environment Asset Management (BEAM) Centre helped develop a ‘dashboard’ of wellbeing for the industry, commissioned by construction mental-health charity, the Lighthouse Club.

The dashboard will be an interactive database, bringing together in one place measurable data in the public domain on construction safety, health and wellbeing. This will be updated yearly, allowing industry organisations, policy makers and researchers to view trends via graphs generated by the data, as well as use it to track progress of industry initiatives, inform decision making and undertake further analysis using the source data.

The work involved bringing data together on suicides – seen as the ‘acid test’ as to whether mental-health initiatives are working – for the period immediately before and subsequently after the UK Government Independent Review on mental health ‘Thriving at work’ in 2017.

Analysis of suicides by occupation, conducted by Professor Billy Hare (pictured, above), who is leading the study, demonstrated that the number per 100,000 for construction workers rose from 26 to 29 in the four years to 2019, despite various initiatives and thousands of awareness training sessions put in place since publication of the Government report in 2017.

The data also shows no change in historical ratios, with people in the construction industry three times more likely to take their own life than those working outside it. There also appears to be some variation between certain occupational groups within the industry.

Those working in non-manual occupations, such as managers and professionals, have lower rates, which have also seen an overall drop in rate from just under 7 in 2015, to just under 5 per 100,000 in 2019. Conversely, unskilled workers, such as labourers, have seen their rate rise year on year from 48 to just over 73 suicides per 100,000.

Professor Hare said: “This occupational group is usually higher than average for suicides, but the sharp rise and widening gap over the period analysed, in contrast to their non-manual colleagues, is concerning and may indicate recent initiatives are not reaching these more vulnerable sectors of the industry.

“Unskilled workers tend to fall into the lowest socio-economic classes, which are associated with lower life expectancy in general, and tend to display the classic characteristics linked to poor mental health, such as alcohol and substance abuse, financial and relationship problems and suffer multiple stressful life events.”

Professor Hare cautioned, however, that these are just preliminary findings and more robust data needs to be obtained so that factors such as age can be controlled for. Usable data was only available for England and Wales, and the team are hoping to also add those for Scotland and Northern Ireland in due course.

Meanwhile, researchers led by Professor Hare are also undertaking a review of construction-specific factors around suicide, funded by the Samaritans. This research will inform the charity’s development of intervention strategies to reduce the high rates seen in the construction industry.

Lack of employer psychological health awareness leaves staff at higher risk of depression

A year-long Australian population study has found that full time workers employed by organisations that fail to prioritise their employees’ mental health have a threefold increased risk of being diagnosed with depression.

And while working long hours is a risk factor for dying from cardiovascular disease or having a stroke, poor management practices pose a greater risk for depression, the researchers found.

The University of South Australia study, published in the British Medical Journal, is led by UniSA’s Psychosocial Safety Climate Observatory, the world’s first research platform exploring workplace psychological health and safety.

Psychosocial safety climate (PSC) is the term used to describe management practices and communication and participation systems that protect workers’ mental health and safety.

Lead author, Dr Amy Zadow, said that poor workplace mental health can be traced back to poor management practices, priorities and values, which then flows through to high job demands and low resources.

“Evidence shows that companies who fail to reward or acknowledge their employees for hard work, impose unreasonable demands on workers, and do not give them autonomy, are placing their staff at a much greater risk of depression,” said Dr Zadow.

Internationally renowned expert on workplace mental health, ARC Laureate Professor Maureen Dollard, says the study found that while enthusiastic and committed workers are valued, working long hours can lead to depression. Men are also more likely to become depressed if their workplace pays scant attention to their psychological health.

Due to the global burden of depression, which affects an estimated 300 million people worldwide and shows no sign of abating despite available treatments, more attention is now being paid to poorly functioning work environments which could contribute to the problem.

High levels of burnout and workplace bullying are also linked to corporations’ failure to support workers’ mental health.

A second paper co-authored by Professor Dollard and published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology earlier this month, found that low PSC was an important predictor of bullying and emotional exhaustion.

“Lack of consultation with employees and unions over workplace health and safety issues, and little support for stress prevention, is linked to low PSC in companies.

“We also found that bullying in a work unit can not only negatively affect the victim, but also the perpetrator and team members who witness that behaviour. It is not uncommon for everyone in the same unit to experience burnout as a result.

“In this study we investigated bullying in a group context and why it occurs. Sometimes stress is a trigger for bullying and in the worst cases it can set an ‘acceptable’ level of behaviour for other members of the team. But above all bullying can be predicted from a company’s commitment to mental health, so it can be prevented,” Prof Dollard added.

The global costs of workplace bullying and worker burnout are significant, manifested in absenteeism, poor work engagement, stress leave and low productivity.

The extent of the problem was recognised in 2019 with the International Labour Organization (ILO) implementing a Global Commission on the Future of Work and calling for “a human-centred approach, putting people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice”.

“The practical implications of this research are far reaching. High levels of worker burnout are extremely costly to organisations and it’s clear that top-level organisational change is needed to address the issue,” Prof Dollard said.

employers advised to increase bereavement support

RedArc is warning employers to be prepared for a huge spike in the need for bereavement support services and counselling for employees during the remainder of 2021.

Based on year-to-date figures, the nurse-led wellbeing service is predicting a 40% year-on-year increase in referrals to its bereavement support, which means that it will help the largest number of bereaved individuals in one year in its 23-year history. This follows several years of bereavement referrals being relatively stable.

Further analysis of RedArc’s data shows that in quarter one of 2021, referrals for bereavement were second only to mental health conditions (of which there are many variants), and ahead of orthopaedic issues and cancer.

In addition, RedArc believes that many of the employees who lost loved ones during the second wave of the pandemic are yet to come forward for support. Bereavement, grief and loss cause a number of symptoms and emotions that individuals usually learn to cope with but where these feelings become overwhelming and do not subside, professional support may be sought several months, or even years, after the initial loss.

Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc, said: “Employers are likely to be seeing the after-effects of the pandemic on their employees before we do, so many will already understand the impact that losing a loved in such an untimely manner is having on staff. Unfortunately, the pandemic not only took away loved ones but also removed our ability to properly grieve: not being at a loved one’s bedside, reduced numbers at funerals, social distancing, a hug ‘ban’, and being unable to see family and friends, means more people than ever are struggling with their emotions in bereavement.”

Employers need to re-familiarise with bereavement support
RedArc is encouraging all employers to re-familiarise themselves with how they support their staff during a bereavement. Whether or not this is via existing employee benefits such as group risk insurances or funded on a case-by-case basis, it’s important to communicate this information to employees.

Husbands continued:“Following the stresses and strains of the past eighteen months, employers may find that their staff are not emotionally resilient at present and therefore coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is even more difficult. In addition, many families will have organised a relatively small funeral but may be looking to host a larger celebration-of-life service or ceremony at a later date, which means the grieving process is also extended. Therefore, employers should also be aware that their employees may grieve harder and for longer than in normal circumstances.”

Types of bereavement support
As well as providing emotional support for the employee and their immediate family, bereavement services may also offer tailored support ranging from reading materials such as books, CDs, workbooks and fact-sheets as well as signposting employees towards national and local bereavement charities and self-help groups. Practical help often includes sourcing care for family members left behind, helping the employee juggle work, childcare etc, support for parents also coping with their children’s grief, and coping strategies for dealing with milestones such as anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas.

Husbands concluded:”There is no timetable for the grieving process – everyone will have a different experience. That’s why employers need to ensure they have support in place that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of staff because no-one can predict how long it will take to adjust to living without a family member or loved one particularly when lost in difficult circumstances.”

Mental health driving return to work en mass

The majority (52%) of workers are looking forward to returning to the office for mental health and wellbeing reasons, rising to almost two thirds (64%) amongst 18-34 year olds.

That’s according to research by workspace plant specialist Ambius, which concludes that the appeal of working from home could be waning amongst office workers.

While physical health elements such as social distancing, hygiene, and ventilation are high on the list of priorities amongst workers when returning to the office following the pandemic, the research conducted with 2,000 office workers across the UK also highlights the importance of mental health and wellbeing.

58% of office workers miss being in a space that is more dedicated to work, while two in five (42%) say they don’t have a sufficient workspace at home. The same percentage (42%) say they find their workplace is more creative or inspiring than working from home.

Almost four in five (78%) believe employers should now prioritise health and wellbeing at work, with 47% saying they would consider leaving their current job if their employer did not make changes to help improve health and wellbeing.

Almost two thirds (64%) of office workers believe the design of their workplace affects their wellbeing. They cite indoor air quality (48%), their ability to access outdoor space (37%), natural light (34%), heating or air conditioning (34%) and plants and greenery (16%) as the key design factors that they believe influence their wellbeing in the office.

When asked about the value of adding plants to their workplace, 42% of British office workers believe  it improves the air quality, a third (33%) suggest it improves their mental health and wellbeing, and 30% say it creates a better workplace in general.

Prettpal Somel, UK Marketing Executive, Ambius, said: “Initially many people enjoyed working from home full time because it meant they didn’t have to commute into work or dress up. But, 12 months later the mental health benefits of being in a work environment that is separate to the home is shining through once again.

“While employers quite rightly need to consider pressing elements to make their offices COVID-safe, they must not ignore the mental health benefits that a workplace provides. Air quality is not only one of the key pillars in the fight against Coronavirus, but can also help to boost the sense of wellbeing that employees feel when working in a shared space.

Employers should adopt a dual-pronged approach in this regard, deploying an air purifier that is capable of killing virus particles in the air, such as VIRUSKILLER which is distributed by Rentokil Initial, alongside installing office plants which provide a connection with nature while indoors as well as helping to improve air quality. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature, and so having living plants and greenery within the workplace is a great way to enhance this connection.”

C-Suite execs experiencing more mental health challenges than their employees

Mental health challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted workers differently depending on their seniority, generation, and location.

That’s according to a new report by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, which studied more than 12,000 employees, managers, HR leaders and C-Suite executive across 11 countries.

It found that C-suite executives struggled to adapt more than their employees, younger generations experienced the most burnout, and that India, UAE, China and the U.S. had the most workers reporting the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.

C-Suite Executives See the Biggest Challenges in Remote Work

C-level executives have struggled the most with adapting to remote work realities and report they are suffering from mental health issues more than their employees, but they are also the most open to finding help in AI.

  • C-Suite execs (53 percent) have struggled with mental health issues in the workplace more than their employees (45 percent).
  • C-Suite execs also had the hardest time adapting to virtual lifestyles with 85 percent reporting significant remote work challenges including collaborating with teams virtually (39 percent), managing increased stress and anxiety (35 percent), and lacking workplace culture (34 percent).
  • C-Suite execs were also 29 percent more likely to experience difficulties learning new technologies for remote work than employees; once they adjusted to the new normal, C-Suite execs were 26 percent more likely to find increased productivity than employees
  • C-Suite execs are the most open to using AI for help with mental health: 73 percent would prefer to talk to a robot (i.e. chatbots and digital assistants) about their mental health over a human compared to 61 percent of employees.
  • C-Suite execs are 23 percent more likely to see AI benefits than employees; 80 percent of C-Suite leaders noted AI has already helped their mental health at work.

Gen Z and Millennials are Hustlin’ Harder, Suffering More, and Seeking AI Relief

Younger workers are feeling the most burnout due to the mental health effects of the pandemic and are more open to asking AI for relief.

  • Gen Z is more likely to be negatively impacted by the pandemic than any other generation. Nearly 90 percent of Gen Z workers said COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health and 94 percent noted workplace stress impacts their home life as well.
  • Gen Z workers are 2X more likely than Baby Boomers to work extra hours during the pandemic, and Millennials are 130 percent more likely to have experienced burnout than Baby Boomers.
  • Younger generations are the most likely to turn to robots for support: Gen Z workers are 105 percent more likely to talk to a robot over their manager about stress and anxiety at work than Baby Boomers. 84 percent of Gen Z and 77 percent of Millennials prefer robots over humans to help with their mental health.
  • Gen Z workers are 73 percent more likely than Baby Boomers to benefit from AI at work: 90 percent of Gen Z say AI has helped their mental health at work and 93 percent want their companies to provide technology to support their mental health.

Employees in Different Countries are Experiencing Very Different Realities

Just like COVID-19, the mental health crisis has impacted people differently across the world. People in India and China are being hit the hardest and are the most open to AI support, while workers in Italy, Germany, and Japan are seeing less of an impact.

  • India (89 percent), UAE (86 percent), China (83 percent) and the U.S. (81 percent) had the most workers reporting the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. Workers in China (43 percent) and India (32 percent) are also the most burned out from overwork as a result of COVID-19.
  • Italy reported the lowest number of people experiencing a negative impact on their mental health from the pandemic (65 percent). Workers in Germany were the least likely to report that 2020 was the most stressful year at work ever (52 percent).
  • 29 percent of people in Japan say they have not experienced many difficulties at all working remotely or collaborating with teams virtually. In contrast, 96 percent of people in India admit it has been challenging to keep up with the pace of technology at work.
  • People in China (97 percent) and India (92 percent) are the most open to having a robot as a therapist or counsellor. People in France (68 percent) and the UK (69 percent) were the most hesitant.
  • People in India and China are 33 percent more likely to talk to a robot than their peers in other countries: 91 percent of Indian workers and 91 percent of Chinese workers would prefer a robot over their manager to talk about stress and anxiety at work.

Despite Demographics, People Need Help from Their Employers. It’s Time to Step Up

Despite seniority, generation and geographic differences, people all over the world agree: The pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of the global workforce—and they want help.

  • 78 percent of workers say the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.
  • 76 percent of people believe their company should be doing more to protect their mental health.
  • 83 percent would like their company to provide technology to support their mental health.

“Diving deep into the differences between demographic and regional groups highlights the significant impact of the pandemic on the mental health for employees in various age groups, roles and regions,” said Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner, Workplace Intelligence. “Amidst the challenges of the pandemic, companies can use this moment as a catalyst for positive change in their organizations. While the pandemic raised the urgency for companies to start protecting the mental health of their employees, the efforts they put in now will continue to create happier, healthier and more engaged workforces in the decades to come.”

“The pandemic put employee mental health in the global spotlight, but these findings also showed that it created growing support for solutions from employers including technologies like AI,” said Emily He, senior vice president, Oracle Cloud HCM. “The way the pandemic changed our work routines makes burnout, stress and other mental health issues all too easy. Everyone has been affected in different ways and the solutions each company puts in place need to reflect the unique challenges of employees. But overall, these findings demonstrate that implementing technology to improve the mental health of employees needs to be a priority for every business.”

Learn more about this global study and download the new report here.

‘Greater focus needed’ on fleet driver mental health during pandemic

Fleets need to be aware of the growing impact of the pandemic on mental health and any subsequent safety risks to drivers, FleetCheck is warning.

Peter Golding, Managing Director at the fleet software specialist, pointed to a new poll that showed 40% of people believed their mental health had become worse during the crisis.

He said: “This is just the latest in a series of polls and pieces of research showing how the last nine months have had a very negative effect on the mental health of many, many people.

“We know that mental health problems of all kinds can have an impact on driver performance on the road. With people saying that feelings of anxiety, stress and depression are particularly apparent, there is a genuine case for fleets to take action.

“Essentially, employers should be fulfilling their basic requirement of checking that drivers are fit to drive and of course, their mental wellbeing should arguably be as much part of this assessment as if they had a physical problem.

“It should be taken as a given that anyone who feels that their mental health has deteriorated to a point where they should not be driving should be taken seriously, and employers should also make it clear that such situations will be dealt with sympathetically.

“Probably the starting point for most fleets would be to seek professional human resources and medical guidance in order to ask drivers a few questions regularly in order to flag up any immediate issues that need attention.”

Golding added that FleetCheck was examining the introduction of basic mental health tools into its Vehicle Inspection App, which included not just daily walkaround safety checks but also incorporated questions about the driver’s health.

“We modified the app last year to cover coronavirus symptoms and now seems like a good moment to add further questions about mental health. We are taking advice and hope to be able to do this soon.” 

Investing in mental health awareness training pays

Organisations have the opportunity to make positive cultural change and strengthen their future, whilst supporting employees with their mental health, says iHASCO

In the latest published results of the study, ‘Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic’, it has been found 64% of people feel that they are not coping with pandemic-related stress well. The temporary hope as lockdown eased has now been replaced with an understanding that the virus is still playing havoc with people’s lives. With further government restrictions introduced to try to prevent the infection rate from spiraling out of control, the uncertainties for individuals and businesses this winter remain high. With financial worries, health concerns and more, the pandemic is certainly contributing to a lack of resilience and poor mental health across the UK.

A ‘Mental Health Crisis’ 

The HSE figures for 2018/19 show that stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases, with 12.8 million working days lost. Now as a result of the pandemic, every business across the country may see a rise in mental health problems in their workforce, with figures even worse than those reported before COVID-19. Therefore, it is vital that employers can create healthy working environments and support employee mental health and wellbeing, not only to meet their legal obligations but to remain productive and to come through the other side of the pandemic in a much better place. It also presents an opportunity to contribute to breaking the negative stigma surrounding mental health, to ensure that as a nation we reach a point where it isn’t brave to open up about your mental health – rather, it’s ‘the norm’. As some organisations lead from the front, it may give others the confidence to follow and realise the positive benefits for all when tackling mental health in the workplace.

Adding to the crisis, it has been suggested in a report by the Centre for Mental Health that in the next two years 500,000 more people will experience mental ill-health conditions in the UK as a result of the pandemic. With a further period of economic downturn as a result of a second spike likely to see even more severe and longer lasting effects on mental health. 

“Now truly is the time for organisations to offer practical mental health and wellbeing support to their employees” explains Lottie Galvin, Mental Health First Aider at iHASCO. “The pandemic has shone a light on how crucial it is to acknowledge and address the emotional and mental struggles people are going through, many of whom were struggling long before COVID turned up on our doorstep.”

A recent report from Deloitte showed that employers can gain a 6:1 return on investment when supporting staff with mental health and wellbeing through organisation-wide culture/awareness raising. This could include initiatives such as tailored web portals, awareness training or personal exercise sessions. With poor mental health having the ability to hit a company’s bottom line hard, it seems like an obvious choice to address company culture if fostering a more caring, supportive attitude to mental health creates a more productive workforce. 

Implementing change

“One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of offering mental health support is to provide your staff with Mental Health & Wellbeing eLearning” says Galvin, whose employer, iHASCO, has delivered over 115,000 online mental health-related training sessions. “It’s a starting point – our courses offer staff a way to learn and reflect privately on their feelings and behaviour, but they also empower people to find the courage to speak up. This starts to build a company culture where talking openly about our struggles becomes more commonplace and is met with kindness and understanding. Our courses also offer a variety of simple tools, tips and ideas that help learners to manage their own wellbeing and offer support to others on a daily basis. Inclusive and supportive organisations inspire a great deal of engagement, motivation, hard work and long term loyalty from a team of individuals who feel seen, heard and cared for.”

iHASCO’s Online mental health and wellbeing training courses include Mental Health Awareness, Building resilience, Managing Anxiety and Stress Awareness & Management, and offer employees easy access to quality information to support them with their wellbeing. Online awareness training can be used alongside other practices to champion employee mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, such as creating a mental health policy, offering counselling through Employee Assistance Programmes, appointing Mental Health First Aiders, regular one-to-ones with managers or simply by promoting a healthy lifestyle and making staff aware of mental health support lines offered by charitable organisations. 

The Coronavirus lockdown acted as a catalyst for starting conversations on wellbeing as employees up and down the country had their lives drastically changed almost overnight. Whether on furlough or working from home, anxiety levels were and still are at an all time high. Employers quickly had to react to this new situation and support employees, and discussions about how best to support mental health and wellbeing were underway across the nation. In times of uncertainty those equipped to better manage their anxiety levels and be resilient have been far less likely to suffer the effects of mental ill-health. Employers who address the issue of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace will reap the rewards whilst making a positive, cultural change, whilst companies not taking action may be left behind.

www.ihasco.co.uk