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Mental health in the workplace

The role of employers in promoting mental wellbeing among their employees has always been crucial but has perhaps become even more so during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Guidance for businesses and employers

For businesses who do not already have a policy in place, now is the time to set out a formal approach to staff mental health and wellbeing across all areas.

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Promoting and supporting your employees’ mental health during COVID-19 and beyond

This brief guide summarises what ‘good work’ means and how businesses can promote good mental health and wellbeing among their employees during COVID-19 and beyond

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1. Connecting with others and talking about your worries

It is important to remember that people deal with things in different ways.

View more

2. Looking after your body

This includes maintaining a healthy diet, staying active and sleeping well.

View more

3. Looking after your mind

Keeping an active mind during quarantine is important to avoid any overthinking.

View more

4. Staying on top of difficult feelings

Feeling concerned during the coronavirus outbreak is completely normal.

View more

5. Setting limits around news

The constant media coverage of COVID-19 can seem overwhelming and distressing.

View more

6. Setting goals and objectives

Setting specific personal goals can motivate individuals and offer a sense of ‘something to look forward to’.

View more

7. Maintaining a sense of hope, positive thinking and helping others

Helping others and volunteering one’s time can be extremely rewarding and a highly effective way of improving a person's mood.

View more

8. Maintaining a positive work/ life balance

Working from home can present its own challenges, especially for those who are doing this for the first time.

View more

Additional resources

Mental wellbeing in work resources

View more

Guidance for businesses and employers

For businesses who do not already have a policy in place, now is the time to set out a formal approach to staff mental health and wellbeing across all areas.

For businesses who do not already have a policy in place, now is the time to set out a formal approach to staff mental health and wellbeing across all areas. This will create a culture of ‘’open-ness’ where staff feel safe to share their thoughts and can support one another without judgment.

These next steps could include:

  1. Creating a staff page or forum on the company intranet where employees can stay connected
  2. Creating a folder on the company shared drive with a list of mental health resources and support. (Any new folder or page created should be easily accessible by staff who have been furloughed.)
  3. Inviting conversations between staff and management teams to develop a mental health strategy
  4. Training and Implementing Mental Health First Aiders, (this may not be possible in the current environment, due to COVID-19 restrictions), establishing Mental Health Champions in the workplace, as well as setting up smaller scale “Time to Talk” sessions between line managers and staff and/or between peer groups
  5. Arranging for mental health awareness training and support for both managers and team members
  6. Investing in an Employee Assistance Programme which can provide access to counselling and additional resources.
  7. Some of these actions will require additional time and cost to roll out on a larger scale, however, the investment will demonstrate the company’s commitment to the wellbeing of its employees.

Additional Resources

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:29:00 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:43:45 GMT

Promoting and supporting your employees’ mental health during COVID-19 and beyond

This brief guide summarises what ‘good work’ means and how businesses can promote good mental health and wellbeing among their employees during COVID-19 and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on mental health and wellbeing, both from the direct impacts of the virus and the unintended consequences of measures taken to control it, including isolation, school closures and widespread job losses.

The virus will not disappear, and some degree of social restriction will be with us to some extent for the foreseeable future. It is very likely that rates of poor mental health will continue to increase, particularly in the Liverpool City Region where, even before the pandemic, we had some of the poorest mental health outcomes in the country and high numbers of socially and economically vulnerable residents.

The role of employers in promoting mental wellbeing among their employees has always been crucial but has perhaps become even more so during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ensuring good mental health at work is good for both employees and employers, boosting job satisfaction, retention and productivity.

This brief guide summarises what ‘good work’ means and how businesses can promote good mental health and wellbeing among their employees during COVID-19 and beyond

Good work and mental health

Access to good work continues to be one of the most important factors for achieving good mental health and wellbeing. The 2017 Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices recognised that the quality of people’s work is a major factor in helping people to stay healthy and happy, and outlined seven characteristics of high-quality work. Wherever possible employers should ensure that employees have:

  • input into decisions that affect how, when and what work is accomplished
  • reasonable work demands and working hours
  • clear role descriptions
  • opportunities to use their skills
  • variety in tasks
  • support from co-workers and a positive relationship with line manager
  • job security

In the same year, the Thriving at Work review focused set out six “mental health core standards” that all employers can readily implement to better support employees to remain in and thrive through work. All employers should:

  • produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
  • develop mental health awareness among employees
  • encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling
  • provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development
  • promote effective people management through line managers and supervisors
  • routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing

Frameworks and guidance

Meeting the standards above should not be daunting and there are several useful, straightforward frameworks to help any organisation to do so.

The Mental Health at Work Commitment is a simple framework that builds on good practice and includes six standards for how organisations can better support employees’ mental health:

  1. Prioritise mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity
  2. Proactively ensure work design and organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes
  3. Promote an open culture around mental health
  4. Increase organisational confidence and capability
  5. Provide mental health tools and support
  6. Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting.

Mind’s Mental Health at Work Commitments guide for employers during coronavirus builds on this general framework to provide practical examples of what employers can do to support staff and respond to the current coronavirus pandemic.

St John Ambulance’s concise mental health and wellbeing checklist helps employers track the progress their organisation has made to ensure that employees have the correct support and policies to maintain good mental health.

Mental health training

The above resources recognise that the most effective way to prevent mental ill health in employees is to ensure that working conditions are conducive to good mental wellbeing. However, it is also important to acknowledge, understand and support those who do develop a mental health condition and mental health training can help in this regard.

Mental Health First Aid is a training program that teaches people how to help someone developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. Like traditional first aid, Mental Health First Aid does not teach people to treat or diagnose mental health or conditions but rather how to offer initial support until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis resolves.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England is a social enterprise and the largest provider of Mental Health First Aid training in the UK and Europe. They provide a range of paid-for courses for organisations, from basic mental health awareness sessions to a full Mental Health First Aider qualification, in person and online. Discounted courses are available through the Growth Platform’s Skills Brokerage Service. Alternatively, the Zero Suicide Alliance provides several free on-line training modules.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Sun, 24 Jan 2021 16:07:48 GMT
Modified on Tue, 06 Jul 2021 10:38:16 GMT

1. Connecting with others and talking about your worries

It is important to remember that people deal with things in different ways.

It is important to remember that people deal with things in different ways. Everyone is experiencing their own challenges during this time and will need to find what works best for them in terms of self-care. Guidance and advice has been issued to the public to support their mental health and wellbeing and recommendations include:

Connecting with others and talking about your worries

This could be talking with friends and family in your household via phone call or digital channels, or reaching out to specialist helplines for support.

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:03:57 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:46:13 GMT

2. Looking after your body

This includes maintaining a healthy diet, staying active and sleeping well.

This includes maintaining a healthy diet, staying active and sleeping well. The WHO have released food and nutrition tips, as well as tips on staying active during quarantine. BlindAlive also have a suite of audio exercise programmes for the visually impaired. Guidance is also available via the NHS’ Every Mind Matter’s sleep page for people experiencing trouble sleeping.

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:05:18 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:46:02 GMT

3. Looking after your mind

Keeping an active mind during quarantine is important to avoid any overthinking.

Keeping an active mind during quarantine is important to avoid any overthinking. This could include doing activities such as reading, writing, drawing or painting amongst others; further tips and tools can be found here. Staffordshire University have an extended activity menu which you can access here (pages 3-6). Mindfulness is also a useful practice which can help reduce worrying and anxiety; the NHS provides further details on mindfulness here. A series of mindful exercises and games for children can also be seen here.

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:06:37 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:45:36 GMT

4. Staying on top of difficult feelings

Feeling concerned during the coronavirus outbreak is completely normal.

Feeling concerned during the coronavirus outbreak is completely normal. However, some individuals may experience intense anxiety interfering with their day to-day activities – in these instances the ‘AWARE’ technique can be used to manage this. There are many resources available to help manage unhelpful feelings, such as the “Every Mind Matters” page; the breathing exercises for stress management on the NHS page, and advice on coping with stress on the WHO’s guidance poster.

A self-isolation journal recovery pack can be found here with useful checklists and exercises designed to help identify coping strategies and distraction techniques.

During times of uncertainty it can be easy to feel powerless and anxious over the lack of control of events. The ‘Circle of Influence and Control’ is an effective tool which can be used to help manage these feelings. Manchester Metropolitan University have provided a short overview on how to use this which can be found here.

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:08:15 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:45:20 GMT

5. Setting limits around news

The constant media coverage of COVID-19 can seem overwhelming and distressing.

The constant media coverage of COVID-19 can seem overwhelming and distressing. It is advisable not to spend an excessive amount of time monitoring the news and to only obtain information from credible, reputable sources. Do remember that the media will always put a negative slant on stories as this gains more attention, sells more papers and attracts more viewers – bad news is more profitable than good news.

For the latest information and advice on COVID-19, visit the UK Government’s website for Coronavirus and the NHS website. A WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service is also available – to access the service, users will have to add the following number (+447860 064422) to their mobile phone contacts and message the word “hi” to this number. More details about the service can be viewed here.

A visual resource to help people review the news can be found here.

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:09:59 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:45:05 GMT

6. Setting goals and objectives

Setting specific personal goals can motivate individuals and offer a sense of ‘something to look forward to’.

Setting specific personal goals can motivate individuals and offer a sense of ‘something to look forward to’. By working through and achieving these goals, a person can feel more productive and have a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose has been known to assist individuals in overcoming stress, depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders*

*Schippers MC, Ziegler N. Life Crafting as a Way to Find Purpose and Meaning in Life. Front Psychol. 2019;10:2778. Published 2019 Dec 13. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02778

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:11:13 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:44:52 GMT

7. Maintaining a sense of hope, positive thinking and helping others

Helping others and volunteering one’s time can be extremely rewarding and a highly effective way of improving a person's mood.

Helping others and volunteering one’s time can be extremely rewarding and a highly effective way of improving a person’s mood. This could be as simple as reaching out to friends and family to help or volunteering at local or national organisations. Volunteering opportunities and information can be found using the links below:

  • Do-it.org – live volunteering opportunities across the country with different charities
  • Reach Volunteering – skills based volunteering as a charity trustee
  • Charity Job – live volunteering opportunities with different charities
  • NCVO – connect volunteers with opportunities and run volunteer centres
  • Charity Choice – list of registered charities in the UK
  • Charity Commission – website to search charities and income

Government guidance on how to volunteer safely can be seen here.

There are a number of websites dedicated to publishing solely positive news stories, such as Good News Network, which are often overlooked by the mainstream media. Reading these can help put things into perspective and help an individual maintain a more positive outlook. There are also many podcasts which focus on mindset, wellbeing and motivation which can be helpful for a daily boost of positivity and calm.

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:13:48 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:44:40 GMT

8. Maintaining a positive work/ life balance

Working from home can present its own challenges, especially for those who are doing this for the first time.

Working from home can present its own challenges, especially for those who are doing this for the first time. It can be very easy for the lines between work life and personal life to blur, with employees feeling that they can never ‘switch off’ and relax.

Some suggestions for working from home include:

  • Creating a workspace — Setting up a defined workspace can help individuals easily get into a working frame of mind. Distractions will be minimised and the workstation can be left behind at the end of the day to signal the end of the working day. This can also serve as a visual cue for children to understand when parents are working and when they are not.
  • Taking breaks — It can be easier to work longer hours (with fewer breaks) when at home as there is no need to ‘leave the office’ to go home. Regular breaks should be scheduled in to leave the workspace and do an alternate activity for a few moments, such as making a drink, some light exercise or meditation. Designated lunch breaks should be penciled in to diaries and adhered to — this allows a person to refresh and recharge for the afternoon ahead.
  • Being active — Working from home means that individuals no longer have the physical activity associated with the morning and afternoon commute. Exercise is well known to improve mood and reduce stress so it is advisable to keep active and move regularly when not working. There are many apps which can help people start exercising such the NHS ‘Couch to 5K’ app and Youtube videos such as the ‘Joe Wicks’ series or ‘Yoga with Adrienne’.
  • Connecting with colleagues — Use emails, phone calls or video calls to reach out regularly to colleagues and to see how they are. There are many alternative ways of staying in touch such as virtual lunches or virtual after work socials. Just because a physical face-to-face is not feasible at the moment doesn’t mean you need to be isolated from your team. If you are a freelancer, reach out to your network connections or LinkedIn contacts or access the support available via the Leapers community.

*The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. Growth Platform does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to Growth Platform and Growth Platform is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:24:03 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:44:28 GMT

Additional resources

Mental wellbeing in work resources

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Mon, 25 Jan 2021 12:25:47 GMT
Modified on Tue, 26 Jan 2021 09:44:16 GMT

Content provided by Growth Platform Digital Flyers.

Published on Sun, 24 Jan 2021 16:01:25 GMT
Modified on Thu, 08 Jul 2021 13:34:32 GMT

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