Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace
How (Mentally) Healthy is your Workplace, would you say? My inspiration to write this article came from it being Mental Health Awareness Week. Also, I have had an interest in mental health issues for many years. As a ‘Soft Skills trainer, I received training from MIND several years ago. At the time, I worked within a Government Agency. I was responsible, along with other trainers, for helping to roll out a Mental Health Awareness programme. I am referring to Mental Health Awareness when I talk about your workplace being mentally healthy (provided that the awareness is acted upon, of course).
The Aim of the Programme that I helped to roll out
The programme’s aim was to help managers recognise when staff may have mental health issues. In addition, it gave managers the appropriate ‘tools’ to deal with these. Consequently, managers became empowered to manage their team members in relation to their mental health. They were able to support their employees. This was the case, whether they had a long-term mental health condition or a temporary issue. Finally, my training delivery helped to remove the taboo around the subject. This was especially important in this particular organisation. I say that as it was a very male-dominated organisation. It is well-known that men, in general, are less likely to speak out about mental illness.
My experience of delivering Mental Health Awareness training
The programme’s aim was also to enable employees (including managers) to be confident in speaking out about any mental health issues. In doing so, they could be confident that they could do so without fear of being judged negatively. I helped to roll out was a hugely successful training course. I found that many people were willing to speak out, within the safe training environment. about their own mental health issues. Additionally, they also spoke about their experiences with others. For example, many had family members or friends with mental health conditions. I agreed with the feedback from many course attendees who suggested that all members of staff should be trained in mental health awareness. I gave this feedback to the Senior Management Team who were responsible for the training budget/allocation.
How (Mentally) Healthy is your Workplace? Actions to take.
I wonder how many organisations now provide Mental Health awareness programmes? Is your organisation supportive of people with Mental Health conditions? Perhaps you are one of the 1 in 4 people who experience or have experienced mental illness? If you are, you may feel that the support could be improved in your organisation? Is there something that you, yourself, can do? How (Mentally) Healthy is your Workplace?
Making my organisation mentally healthy
A brave lady, in a middle-management position, decided to take action. She persuaded senior managers that something needed to be done to educate managers about mental health issues. Her approach helped managers understand that some staff were living with mental health issues. Her promotion of mental health awareness gave people the ‘permission’ to speak out. It enabled them to feel that they could talk about their experiences. Importantly, they could do this without the fear of stigma. They could also do it without the fear of being judged. The manager that started this off was living with a serious mental health condition. She demonstrated that career progression was possible if people were confident to speak out. In speaking out, they should be given the appropriate support. In summary, I hope that this has caused you to reflect.
You may wish to consider How (Mentally) Healthy is your Workplace?
Finally, I would like to suggest that you check out my other Mental Health blog posts. Afterwards, I welcome you to get in touch if you need further help.