What is mental health?
Everyone has mental health and, like physical health, it fluctuates along a spectrum. It can vary from good mental well-being to severe mental health problems. Work can have a huge impact on mental health – it can promote well-being or trigger problems.
The HSE has launched a new mental health campaign aimed at smaller businesses: “working minds”. What’s happening and should you get involved?
The HSE is concerned that small businesses are not managing psychological risks, despite the mental health crisis which has emerged throughout the pandemic. Therefore, It wants to see mental health given as much thought as safety in the workplace.
Mental health issues are now top of the list of reasons for sickness absence in a poll on ill-health. Seventeen Million working days are lost due to stress, anxiety or depression. The charity Mind. also reports that its survey shows two in five employees’ mental health has worsened during the pandemic.
Tip: Not all poor mental health affecting employees is due to their work, but a proportion will be work-related, and regardless of the causes, employers need to be able to manage ill health sympathetically.
The Five R’s
HSE aims to change things in small businesses by encouraging owners, managers and staff to be aware of the signs of work-related stress and outlining simple steps to tackle it. Therefore the online resources are arranged as Five R’s:
Advice: If a member of staff is diagnosed with a mental health condition which is likely to last twelve months or more, you must comply with the Equality Act 2010. So to identify what’s needed, a good place to start is to ask the employee to talk about it in confidence. Therefore, We recommend a stress risk assessment is carried out on all staff at regular intervals. (Click here for your free Stress Management Checklist)
Advice: Mind reports that fears about job security are a major cause of increased poor mental health. Clear information to staff about planned changes will help. If major changes are on the cards, engage with HR professionals at an early stage. (Safety Aide supports their clients by providing them with a Stress and Wellbeing Policy)
TIP: Create a risk assessment to review the stress of different job roles and find ways to make working life a less worrying. (Safety Aide provides a Stress Risk assessment to their clients)
The campaign highlights simple steps you can implement to improve mental health. Create a stress risk assessment, carry out regular stress management assessment(s) and as a result add a Stress and Wellbeing policy to your health and safety policy. Therefore, Show that you support staff that are suffering from poor mental health and be compassionate in the management of change.