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Offering support on world mental health day

September 26, 2019

Over the last few years, mental health issues have become much better understood by people across the country. Whether you operate as a sole trader, or have employees, dealing with mental health issues is now part of your role. To mark World Mental Health Day on the 10th October, we look at how best to look after your own mental health and that of any employees.

Understand the warning signs

Whether it’s yourself, a colleague or an employee, many people don’t feel comfortable admitting that they’re struggling with a mental health issue. That’s why it’s so important to look out for yourself and for others. It’s not always easy, with symptoms differing from person to person. However, there are some behavioural changes that shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some things to look out for:

• General irritability
• Becoming more lethargic – more sick days or timekeeping suffers
• Drop in productivity levels
• Easily distractible
• Confusion

No shame in getting support

If you think you might be struggling with a mental health problem, or believe a staff member might be suffering, it can be best to seek help. The first step is to reach out for medical support through your GP, who will be able to refer you onto a licensed professional.

Even if you’re reluctant to talk about your mental wellbeing, most people will see improvements after opening up to a licensed professional like a therapist or counsellor. If you’re speaking with staff about a concern, it’s important to be respectful and caring. Don’t jump to conclusions and allow the person to speak freely, without judgement.

mental health advice

If the issue is workplace-related, or something that you can help fix then look to offer solutions. Unfortunately, some mental health issues are developed over years and can be very difficult to shake. If this is the case, you can still support your staff. Encourage them to seek help and be accommodating when it comes to therapy appointments, allowing time off if necessary. Again, whilst small, these measures can really demonstrate to someone that you care.

Create a positive working environment

If you’re an employer one of the easiest ways you can make a difference is to create a positive place to work. As the boss you have a great deal of influence on the working culture. This is important, as one in five workers admit to having called in sick to work to avoid workplace stresses. There are a number of easy ways to create a more positive environment, from encouraging regular breaks to just taking greater care to ensure people feel supported and appreciated.

This guide from ACAS has some useful advice on how to promote positive mental health in the workplace.

Support World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day gives you an opportunity to take stock of your own mental health, as well as showing staff that you support them. The occasion is held on 10th October every year and is an opportunity to show that you take the matter seriously. From information packs, to top tips about best practice the day has been designed to benefit everyone. If you want more information about the day, visit here.

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