The most common mental health problems in the UK are anxiety and depression, and research shows that one in four people will have a mental health problem at some point in their life. This can often be a reaction to a life event such as a bereavement or work-related stress.
In the UK, employers have a legal responsibility to help their employees if they are dealing with a work-related mental health issue. They may also have further legal requirements under equalities legislation to make reasonable adjustments for employees in the workplace.
HR have a responsibility to ensure mental health initiatives are implemented into businesses and upheld, so employees feel supported at work. Steps that HR can take include:
Putting together initiatives
To begin, a workplace should have clear expectations outlined for managers and staff to follow, ensuring policies and procedures are aligned with mental health initiatives. HR professionals can put together standards in the workplace to ensure your staff feel connected and supported at work.
Training staff at all levels within a business can help to minimise the effects of poor mental health within the workplace. It will help employees be able to recognise signs that co-workers are struggling and provide early intervention and support. HR professionals can help businesses understand their legal obligations and equip you with the skills needed to have conversations with your employees in the right way.
Make adjustments for employees
Employees can face mental health difficulties even with a strategy in place to prevent, help and support them. There are adjustments, such as flexible working, that may help to alleviate some of the stress caused by work for employees. HR professionals are able to help you identify these adjustments and make you aware of legal requirements under the Equality Act 2010.
As well as supporting employees dealing with mental health issues, businesses should be proactive and promote positive wellbeing for all staff. This could be improving company culture, working strategies and shared goals. HR professionals can help you to create a wellbeing strategy that is both proactive and reactive, so your employees feel valued and supported at all times.
Mental health is a complex topic that requires effective HR management to cover policy creation, wellbeing strategies, staff and management training, improvement of company culture and more. As a business, if you don’t have a HR management team, it is sensible to get in touch with an HR professional to ensure you are following your legal obligations, as well as providing effective support to your employees.
If you would like to discuss mental health in relation to your business, get in touch! Here at Oculus HR, we can help with HR support, including implementation of policies and procedures, staff training and wellbeing strategies.