How businesses can provide targeted support to struggling employees

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Businesses and employees alike currently face a host of new challenges, including rising costs, economic fluctuations, and fears of a looming recession.

Meanwhile, not all the difficulties arising from the pandemic have disappeared. The introduction of remote and hybrid working continues to present challenges in ensuring that the workforce remains engaged and productive. In some organisations, the Covid-era of work flexibility has been reduced, disrupting employees’ new work-life balance.

The NHS remains under pressure from the steep increase of referrals following the pandemic, including for mental health services. For employers, this means that their staff will take longer to access help, get better, and return to their optimal level of productivity.

This year’s World Mental Health Day is the perfect opportunity for employers to review their mental health provisions and identify ways to support employee wellbeing at work. The World Federation for Mental Health quite rightly champions ‘mental health for all’ as a global priority. It should also be recognised that those disproportionately affected by the pandemic will need additional support and safeguards – for instance, younger adults, mature employees, and those with caring responsibilities.

The case for proactively tackling mental health challenges in the workplace is now more compelling than ever, both to address existing mental health issues and to prevent them from developing.

Here are five steps businesses can take to address these challenges:

  • Identify and monitor the wellbeing of your staff. Ensure that groups within your organisation who may be at greater risk of poor mental health are monitored separately. Absence levels and high employee attrition can be a good indication of ‘hot spots’ within your organisation, and your Occupational Health provider can guide you further while maintaining employees’ confidentiality.
  • Develop a Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy that targets both preventative and acute support. Ensure that support is made available with equity, providing additional safeguards for those requiring more help.
  • Review your internal communications and direct targeted messages to those staff groups most in need. Involve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion experts as appropriate.
  • Review your Mental Health First Aid resources and assess how impactful your Mental Health First Aiders are within the workplace. Determine whether they are adequately equipped to fulfil this role and can effectively signpost colleagues to available support in your organisation.
  • Every organisation is different, and your managers’ mental health training should reflect this, to ensure they are able to recognise and support employees who are struggling with their mental health.

Maximus have helped over 12,000 people stay in work with our mental health support. Find out more about Access to Work Mental Health Support Service

10 October, 2022