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Recently I watched a YouTube video about the meaning of Employee Mental Health Programs and wanted to share what I learned from it with you in this article.

Not questioning someone’s logic or thinking can be because an employee is scared of speaking out. An engaged employee wakes up in the morning thinking about the work they are going to do that day — and that work is interesting and challenging to them. They know they have the skills and talents to be successful. They enjoy the work as much — or more — than the paycheck. And they know that when they accomplish something, the people around them are going to notice and appreciate it. Ultimately, regardless of the stresses or demands on any given day or week, they enjoy doing what they do best to make a difference in the world. We all work better if we have clear goals that we are working towards, and mental health in the workplace is no different. Identify the key drivers for mental health, and the key indicators; figure out how to measure these and what level the company should achieve; and ensure these are an integral part of your company’s performance targets. Work can have negative effects on mental health, particularly in the form of stress. Work-related stress is defined as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them'[4]. Although pressure can motivate employees and encourage enhanced performance, when pressure exceeds an employee’s ability to cope, it becomes a negative force in the form of stress. Effective management and open dialogue are fundamental to unlocking the potential of staff, reducing uncertainty and preventing stress – and having an effective, empowered employee voice is integral to this relationship. Voluntary health assessments can help employers better understand the mental health needs of their workforce by detecting symptoms of mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, and by measuring individual risk and assessing factors like stress.

Self-acceptance and self-care can be very hard when you have a mental health problem – an ongoing challenge people need to work on. More people are in work with a mental health condition than ever before, but many individuals with mental health problems are struggling emotionally, off sick, less productive, or leaving employment. 300,000 people with a long term mental health condition leave employment every year, equivalent of the whole population of Newcastle or Belfast. When working to set the tone of mental health being safe to discuss in a team, you must think about one core thing: trust. Trust is everything. Without trust, you can’t build anything else. If you truly want mental health and employee wellness to be a conversation instead of a fad, you need to involve executive leadership from the get-go. Don’t forget to send out proper internal communications around managing employees with mental health issues in your organisation.

# Confidentiality Around Mental Health

Putting workplace support in place for mental health early to deal with any issues could prevent the problem escalating and having a larger impact on both the individual and the team. Having an ongoing review process is critical for an organisation’s mental health plan. Through evaluation, you can assess whether or not you achieved your intended outcomes and improved psychological health and safety. From there you can adjust your plans and take any corrective action. This will help keep your organization moving in the right direction. As companies start to decide whether they’ll return to in-office work at full capacity, have a hybrid model, or continue remote working, they have to consider the pros and cons of each model — and that includes from a mental health perspective. Not only does work give us the money we need to live, but it also provides social contacts and support, keeps us physically and mentally active, allows us to develop and use skills, gives us social status, a sense of identity and personal achievement, and provides a way for us to structure and occupy our time. We will all be affected at some stage of our lives by mental ill health—either personally, or in our families or our workplaces. There will be people in our workplaces who are successfully managing anxiety or depression or less prevalent mental health conditions. We need to overcome stigma, prevent marginalisation and provide flexibility to overcome barriers to making a full contribution in work. Thinking about concepts such as how to manage an employee with anxiety is really helpful in a workplace environment.

and perceptions and what is actually happening in the workplace. This means that employees often do not get the help they need to maintain a fulfilling and productive working life, and some line managers are frustrated by the lack of support to do what they know is right. Many people who have mental health problems dread returning to work after they have been off sick because of their mental health. It can be awkward to know what to say when people have been ill, especially if it has never been talked about, or if their behaviour was unusual when they were unwell. Whether you are a manager or a colleague, keeping in touch and letting someone know you care is a great way to prevent awkwardness. Managing and supporting people who are nervous or anxious about returning to the workplace calls for careful planning. Employees need to understand the steps their employers have taken to ensure they will be safe and that their wellbeing is genuinely a high priority. Burn out is a big issue for the public/third sectors, a remarkable similarity between passion driven jobs (including startups, nursing/carers, and teachers) and hitting walls. Especially, the care sector where the turnover is huge because of the overbearing stress. One of the single biggest factors that predict success is a stable desire to work. And critically, one of the challenges with our benefits system is that it forces or compels people to work, and through that, they’re not necessarily able to form a stable desire to work – resulting in mental health issues in many cases. Even though it may not be easy to become an employee-centric company addressing employers duty of care mental health it is of utmost importance in this day and age.

# Adults Spend Most Of Their Waking Hours At Work

Business owners have to give so much to talent that they are loathe to make any concessions for those who are denied this tag – those who are merely labour. The result is unconscionable income inequality. A wellness program can provide strategies for stopping the cycle of negative, obsessive thoughts. One effective method is distraction: When negative thoughts take over, have employees engage in a new task that requires complete concentration. A lot of remote workers feel like they constantly need to be “visible” in their digital workspaces to “prove” that they are working. They feel they need to be present for every discussion in chat, or can’t let a notification go unanswered for more than a few minutes. This pressure adds unnecessary anxiety. Instead of being able to do their work, they are constantly worryying about how their contributions are perceived. If an employee has a mental health issue, it’s important their employer takes it seriously. For example, it’s a good idea to talk to the employee to find out what support they might need at work. Feeling connected to workmates, having healthy relationships with leaders, and feeling valued with some control over our work are major drivers for mental wellbeing. Subjects such as workplace wellbeing support can be tackled by getting the appropriate support in place.

Unplanned absence is one of the most common early warning signs of mental ill health. Employees with mental health conditions may have increased rates of unplanned absence. Seek to understand the reasons for the unplanned absence, such as ability to attend, motivation to attend and barriers to attend work. This will help you to work with the employee to support and improve attendance. Wellbeing shaming is a sign of the pressure to be constantly connected to work. A sign of the pressure to “win” (ugh) at work. This trend is not only unsustainable, it’s dangerous. It’s created an expectation where many people feel as though they can’t disconnect from work, even when they really need to for emotional health reasons. Mental health is the way we think and feel and our ability to deal with ups and downs. According to research, 85% of companies say wellness programs support employee engagement. When an employee wellbeing program is implemented, employees feel more connected, their health is elevated, and consequently their happiness is increased. All HR professionals are on a mission to reduce absenteeism. It costs money, has a negative impact on team performance and reduces productivity. If companies support their employees’ wellness, they’re more likely to be engaged and less likely to be off sick too. Discussing ideas such as workplace wellbeing ideas is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.

# Mental Health Programs At Work

There is a broad range of issues that can have an impact on a person’s mental health. These can include: divorce and separation, the 24/7 “always on” culture and its effect on sleep, the need to juggle multiple responsibilities and roles in addition to work, financial pressures, and, for many, the despair of isolation and loneliness. Organisations should establish communication processes that address employees’ education, awareness, and understanding of stigma, psychological illness, and safety relating to mental health. All line managers should receive training in mental health and all employees should be educated to increase their mental health literacy and to recognise the signs that they may need support. You can get further information on the topic of Employee Mental Health Programs in this Health and Safety Executive page.

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