The more you ignore mental health issues, the worse they become.
All employers have a legal duty of care for their staff health and wellbeing, and that includes mental health too.
Employers should create a supportive workplace where positive mental health is promoted. It’s not as complicated as you might think.
A Mental health first aid is one of the most beneficial tools you can possess. It’s a great investment for your wellbeing policies; and can develop workplace morale and self-verification.
Read why good employee wellbeing is a priceless business practice. And see how employee care can grow your revenue and brand name.
So, what exactly is a mental health first aid kit?
A mental health first aid kit is a collection of items and procedures used to provide mental health support.
It’s not just for employees; it can be used for anyone suffering from mental health issues.
The main aim of the kit is to help identify mental health issues and manage the triggers.
It’s arguably easier to spot and manage physical health problems. If a worker finds it difficult to sit at a computer for long hours, you tackle this through DSE work practices.
But dealing with issues of mental health can be more difficult. There are so many types of mental health issues, and twice as many triggers and causes.
But as an employer, you do have a legal duty to care. And whilst we don’t advise forking out on staff holidays or expensive therapy sessions, you should proactively care.
Why is mental health important for your business?
Openly talking about tackling mental health issues at work, you will:
- Positively build your reputation and brand name.
- Attract top talent and reduce staff turnover.
- Help employees to stay motivated and untroubled.
- Encourage the idea that mental health sickness is just as important as physical health sickness.
These practices can be introduced through mental health training, wellbeing services, and safe working environments.
What do you include in a mental health first aid kit?
There are no rules on what to include in the kit. Of course, we advise against putting in puppies or ‘substances’.
But they can include so many different emotional soothers – from stress balls to a fresh pair of slippers. It depends on how to heal and help your staff mentally.
Bear with us. These may seem like random objects found at the bottom of your work locker. But incorporating these through mental health practice can prove beneficial.
Here are things to include in your mental health first aid kit:
Access to exercise
Sometimes going to a gym class or on a lunchtime walk can do wonders for your mental health. In some cases, they can help more than medicinal remedies.
Exercise isn’t just something to get your heart racing – it’s a workout for the brain too! Studies show that exercise has direct links to our mental wellbeing, improving one’s mood, stress, and anxiety levels.
So, invest in some yoga mats, skipping ropes, maybe even some gym balls. Why not advertise exercise classes and sports sessions?
You could start a sports club, create a business gym membership, or even host mindful sessions. There are endless ways to get that brain muscle pumping.
Having playlists for different tasks or jobs can impact your body and mental state more than you might think.
Think about delving into different music genres for different scenarios. A K-pop playlist to work out to, or classical music for unwinding at a mindfulness session. Music is proven to increase learning, memory, and retention – all great traits for employees.
And don’t forget headphones! Headphones can help you block out the noisy world and escape into another realm. Some of us even carry three types in our bags, for fear of experiencing a work commute without music. Both are great investments for tackling mental health.
An empathetic manager
We all have our go-to person who is perfect for asking for advice or having a good rant.
Speaking and sharing problems with someone is a pivotal step for managing mental health issues. It’s especially vital these days; as isolation and remote working is fast becoming the new work norm.
Having an empathetic manager can help with mental health issues. So, include their contact info in the kit.
You can also provide line managers with emotional intelligence training. It’s more cost-effective than therapy, and problems can be managed in a comfy environment.
Journaling has increasingly become more and more popular these days – thanks millennials!
Channelling your thoughts through writing can help employees manage their professional and personal lives.
From structuring calendars to unleashing unconscious thoughts, journals can help manage issues and plan their days.
There are several free apps and podcasts dedicated to mindfulness and mental wellbeing.
Sharing different practises for mindfulness, through sessions at work or at home, can help those suffering alone.
We recommend employers invest in an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). It’s a great way to manage mental health wellbeing and issues in the workplace.
How to avoid triggers for mental health issues
Sometimes, it only takes one bad event to trigger a bad mental state. So, manage those incidents from the start if you spot any signs.
Here are some classic negative work attitudes you should banish from your workplace:
All or nothing attitude
These employees feel they need to hit their target or face the wrath of potential consequences.
You need to have open discussions on deadlines and objectives. Provide realistic achievement scales and disallow any catastrophising attitudes.
These employees are always self-demeaning and downplaying their skills and abilities.
This is especially important to stamp out, especially with new workers or when training staff.
Employees should be learning every day and will make mistakes. Normalise this and ban self-criticism and self-destructive attitudes.
You hired them because you saw their value for your business – and they should acknowledge that.
Bottling up thoughts
These employees don’t feel they should share any problems they are currently facing. And are mostly suffering in silence.
If they are dealing with something, it’s going to affect their health and performance. And this can be dangerous in the workplace. For themselves, those around them, and your business too.
This needs to be tackled from the beginning by having open channels of communication – for problems that are work-related or not. Encourage them to speak about it, and show support throughout managing the issue.
Teach your employees they should believe in dreaming and growing themselves and their careers. Getting sufficient sleep, exercise, and self-care can ensure productive days and lifestyles.
And they can still be ambitious and career-driven – without sacrificing self-worth. It’s all about loving yourself and reminding them about the importance of both physical and mental health.