By implementing a workplace training scheme that supports training within both management and the general workforce, in supporting themselves and others with mental health problems, sick days could potentially be reduced.
In 2017, the Centre for Mental Health reported that mental health problems in the UK workforce cost employers almost £35 billion in 2016. Not only does the failure to provide a healthy support system and ensure that managers are well equipped to support employees suffering from mental health issues, cost money, but it can also create a toxic company culture.
Mental health problems may be pre-existing in an employee or may stem from a traumatic or stressful workplace experience, or collection of experiences. Regardless of the cause, an employer has a duty of care to their staff and therefore should provide resources and support systems to ensure they can perform their tasks without further damage to their mental health.
Implementing mental health workplace training courses for managers
Management workplace training in a range of mental health symptoms, including anxiety, depression, PTSD and drug and alcohol misuse, offers an insight into how to recognise these conditions in individuals. The ability to preempt employees potentially experiencing problems, which they have not vocalised, could provide a proactive approach to supporting those needing support.
Discussing mental health can be one of the most difficult things to do, for both those experiencing the symptoms and those offering help. Once an open line of conversation is created and a manager can establish the terminology that an employee prefers to use when talking about any problems they may experience, they can then begin to build trust and establish a relationship with one another.
Despite the fact that employers should inherently care about their employees physical and mental health, regardless of profit, the clear interest of mental health management workplace training is the economic benefit. Recent research demonstrated that the cost of the workplace training amounted to around 10% of the amount saved per year, in reduced work-related stress and sickness absences. The research revealed the truly dramatic return on investment, from the brief workplace training programme, by investing in the long-standing notion that management are the key players in supporting mental health in the workplace.
What support systems can employers offer?
If a company truly wants to push further with their workplace mental health support system, then there are a number of ways in which they can implement further and ongoing support systems for their workers. Companies should consider any or all of the following, to create a healthier workplace:
- Support groups
- Sponsorship or mentorships
- Health workplace culture
- Flexible working hours and locations (where possible)
- Encouraging colleagues to support and look out for one another, reporting concerns
- Anonymous feedback systems
- Positive reinforcement throughout all areas of the business
- Making reporting sick time for mental health, easier and less traumatic
Organisation benefits of investing in mental health workplace training
The core of mental health workplace training should be supporting your colleagues and management in maintaining a healthy state of mind, and the ability to support anyone suffering. However, the wider benefits of implementing both support systems and a mental health workplace training course for management are:
- Reduction of costs typically lost to sick days and absenteeism
- Identification and management of mental health in the organisation
- Better retention of valued staff resulting in reduced training and recruitment costs
- Ensuring your business is meeting your duty of care as an employer