Most of us spend more than 80% of our week at work, the workplace has a big impact on our wellbeing and mental health. Given this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day theme of ‘Making mental health and wellbeing for all a priority’. Here at InsideOut, we want to help you to make priority in your workplace. The buck doesn’t stop with leaders and managers, everyone has a responsibility to look out for each other and to take care of themselves too. We wanted to take this opportunity to share some tips on how you can do just that.
Here are our top tips on how you can make mental health and wellbeing a priority at work and for yourself.
- The culture: Fostering an open, more positive culture around the workplace for all employees, no matter their job role, is important. Encourage employees to share their stories and be advocates for championing mental health in the workplace. Ensure all employees have the same level of access to the support and care that they may need. This means not only raising awareness on the importance of mental health across all your internal channels, but making sure colleagues know how to access the support and resources on offer, without having to get approval from HR teams. Signpost support that is available both internally and externally, including the InsideOut platform which offers 1-2-1 sessions with therapists, counsellors and coaches and self-help tools/resources.
- Get connected: Water cooler conversations, making a cup of tea and complaining about the weather are normal conversations in the workplace, however with the increases in hybrid and remote working many employees can feel isolated from this. Encourage colleagues to find ways and make time to connect informally with each other virtually, through different channels such as Slack, Teams or Messenger. It helps to promote a sense of connectedness and lessens feelings of isolation and loneliness. Where possible, try to organise in-person team meetings and events. Having things to look forward to boosts happiness!
- Knowledge is power: Without awareness people can not learn and grow. Educating and upskilling colleagues and managers about mental health, sharing experiences and knowledge, understanding the signs and symptoms, knowing how to have sensitive conversations and how to bring an awareness of the ways to support others, will more likely foster a supportive and caring space.
- Be flexible in different needs: Mental health is personal to everyone and the support one person needs can be different from the next. While one employee might feel comfortable to open up and share experiences, another might not. Taking a flexible approach to supporting colleagues and providing a non-judgmental approach for them to open up, if they would like to do so, is important. It’s important to show kindness and talk kindly to both ourselves and others.
- Show recognition: When we feel valued in the workplace it can significantly impact our mental health in a positive way. During this World Mental Health Day, highlight to your colleagues the positive contributions they are making, thanking them for a recent project or work they have done. Recognition goes a long way to boosting self-esteem and raising confidence as well as increasing morale and engagement.
- Talk to someone you trust. Many of us have learnt to bottle things up as we either don’t feel comfortable sharing our thoughts and emotions, or we may feel that we don’t want to burden others, especially our colleagues, with how we are really feeling. It can take a lot of courage to open up. Having a network of people around you in the workplace that you trust and feel comfortable talking to is essential. It really can help to open and share how you are feeling. It can really change a situation.
- Continue the conversation: World Mental Health Day might fall on the 10th of October each year, but it is not a one day event. Awareness days are a great way to shine a temporary light on an issue, however the hard work happens on the other 364 days of the year. We all have mental health, every single one of us, every single day. There are days and times when we may feel great but it’s important to recognise that those around us may not feel the same way. This is why we need to begin reducing the stigma and giving a voice to our own experiences and those of others, so we can all feel safe to reach out for the support we need, when we need it.
If you would like to speak to someone, the InsideOut team are to support you. You can reach out to us via [email protected]