Mental Health Awareness: How do we maintain the dialogue?
Mental wellbeing is more vital than ever during these unprecedented times, it is important for workplaces to remember that awareness is important, but continuing the conversation after mental health awareness week is essential.
On Saturday 10th October, millions of people showed their support for ‘Mental Health Awareness’ day across social media by reminding each other to look after our minds as well as our bodies. Mental Health has been high on the agenda for employers and employees for some years. The challenges that 2020 have brought make a focus in this area for any employer even more imperative.
In 2019 Mind surveyed 44,000 employees and found that more than 70% of employees have experienced mental health problems of some kind, while more than half are affected by poor mental health in their current workplace. These numbers are set to rise as we navigate our ‘new normal’ in 2020. As employers, we have a duty of care to our teams to offer the correct support and this pays back to the business through increased employee engagement and a more enthusiastic and committed workforce who care about the work they do.
At Generation Media we have always had a focus on mental health providing resilience training and employee assistance programme support for the team. In 2019 we addressed this more formally with the set up of our Well Being committee who champion a happier and healthier workplace for all.
Following Mental Health Awareness day last week we ran our second Well Being week. Whilst we could not offer the Indian head massages, gong baths and other treats we all enjoyed in 2019, we had a jam packed calendar of virtual events from morning mindfulness sessions, coffee breaks with Starbucks vouchers gifted to all, resilience training, team building and fun with a virtual escape room social.
But it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, stop there. Mental Health awareness week is essential for raising awareness but even more essential is maintaining the dialogue. Mental health should be an ongoing conversation that everyone feels comfortable talking about. Here are our top 5 tips to get the conversation started even if it is virtually:
- Check in with your teams: it can be a sensitive subject but asking your team to score how they are feeling in a catch up can be a great way to open up the dialogue and gauge how they are feeling.
- Make space for communication: we have lost some of those water cooler moments working from home but our weekly virtual coffee breaks give us a chance to catch up and interact with members of the team we might not otherwise see.
- Share mindfulness tips and tools: our monthly well being letter is jam packed full of ideas and resources and our morning meditation sessions last week demonstrated how just a 2 minute break for mindfulness during a busy time can make all the difference to your mindset and productivity.
- Get trained: have mental first aiders and ensure people know who to turn to.
- Invest in an EAP: Employee Assistants programmes have a wealth of resource as well as trained advisors who can support with personal and professional issues.
Author: Navdeep Snotra