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A Mental Health Guide for Managers - Research Shows they Need More Support

The topic of mental health in the workplace is one being addressed by a growing number of employers, as conversations increase around the importance of healthy minds.

For employees at all levels, it is important not only to look after your own mental health at work, but to try to check in with how others are coping with their daily load too. This is especially true if you are a manager and have a duty of care to those who report into you.

A survey by Time to Change found that over 50% of managers did not feel equipped with the right tools to provide guidance to others on their mental health.

Bupa recently created a guide to supporting those with mental health for managers. Suggestions include:

Ask for Support and Training

Asking senior management for training in this area is just as important as individuals asking for support for themselves, so that you can effectively help your team to feel good about coming to work and managing the pressures of everyday life. You should feel properly prepared for the event that your staff may need to open up to you about their struggle with mental health.

Look for the Signs

But don’t make assumptions. If you see signs of mental health issues, this doesn’t automatically mean your team member has a problem, but you should certainly treat it as a priority. Indicators include poor concentration, worrying a lot, getting overwhelmed easily and difficulty in making decisions. Get to know your team member so that any changes in behaviour are easy to spot.

Know Your Company Policy

You never know what life could have in store for your team; if something unexpected happens or they need to take time away from work to get better, they should feel comfortable expressing this and you should both know what the company will allow them to take, paid or unpaid. The policy around sickness absence is crucial to be aware of.

Make Yourself Available

If you think your team member is struggling, you should certainly think about starting a conversation. Nobody should have to struggle alone and just allowing them to open up can be a huge relief for someone finding it hard to cope. Good mental wellbeing is crucial in maintaining productivity levels, so make sure you encourage honest conversation and make it known that you are always there to talk privately.

Show Appreciation

Those who are going through mental health setbacks are likely to have low self-esteem, and in addition to that, even the smallest of tasks can feel enormous and impossible to carry out. Give regular praise and encouragement for your team’s efforts equally, taking care not to isolate any one member as a favourite or, indeed, someone you feel is falling behind. The latter can place a significant extra strain on the stress levels of someone who is suffering with mental health problems.

If there is one thing that current conversations around mental health in the media and among the public constantly reminds us, the importance of opening up to each other is crucial. If we all keep in mind that half the battle of dealing with poor mental wellbeing is just telling someone about it (71% still consider mental health to be taboo in work, according to a Michael Page study from last year), then we can keep helping others to cope much better with their day-to-day lives.