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Changing business culture: a conversation about mental health in the workplace

Mental health in the workplace is a topic of conversation which has long since had a stigma attached to it.  But, with cases increasing and the aftermath of the global pandemic unfolding, more conversations about mental health are being had. Buddy explores the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace and the impact it can have on your business if it is overlooked.

The landscape for employers has inevitably changed due to the pandemic.  The dynamics of team structures, working patterns and returning to a work environment might be affecting employees differently from before. Everyone in the last few years has been forced to isolate which can bring unwanted feelings of seclusion, loneliness, and anxiety. In addition, the BBC recently reported that depression now affects 350 million people. And health experts believe is the leading cause of disability worldwide.  The solution to this has to be for businesses to create safe and comfortable working environments which will encourage a culture which centres around employee wellbeing.

stress and anxiety Image source via Shutterstock

Providing support for employees’ mental health will not only benefit the individual’s well-being. The BBC recently stated that mental health issues such as stress and depression are now the leading causes of illness in the workplace, with more than eleven million working days lost last year.

What impact can it have on your business?

Neglecting an employee’s mental state is not only detrimental to their health but can also be costly for a business.  The BBC reviewed research carried out by Deloitte. It suggests that poor mental health cost UK bosses more than £43bn in 2018, which is an increase of 16% since the last estimate in 2016.  This research was conducted pre-pandemic and it is well documented that there has been a rise in mental health-related sick cases since then. But also, this cost is calculated by the wages people are paid when they’re on sick leave. However, people often don’t disclose that sick leave is for mental health problems so the true costs could be much higher.

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to ensure that your employees are cared for adequately.  The charity Mind conducted research about mental health in the workplace. Researchers spoke to over 1000 people in England.  56% of respondents answered that they were very, or fairly stressed about work. 52% said their workloads were causing them stress. Its important for an employer to recognise when an employee is overloaded with work as this can lead to severe anxiety, and heighten stress levels and burnout.

Overloaded with work causes stress image sourced via shutterstock

Spotting the signs and offering support is something our team at Buddy can offer help with. The first step to building a work culture which incorporates mental health and wellbeing is to train in the subject matter. Our team offer courses in First Aid for mental health.  Depending on the level of learning, our courses range from half days to up to three days in a classroom and upon completion learners will receive a certificate.  We can either arrange a training location or visit your site.

What is covered in a first aid for mental health course?

It will introduce learners to the issue of mental health in the workplace. This includes help in recognising people who are struggling with mental health conditions and empowering learners to take actions such as referring colleagues to mental health services.

Our Level 2 Award in First Aid for Mental Health is an intermediate course certified by Ofqual. Ideal for individuals with health & safety responsibilities in the workplace, it goes into some of the causes and symptoms of mental health issues and empowers you to provide support.

The Level 3 Award in Supervising Mental Health is an advanced course certified by Ofqual. This course is ideal for managers, supervisors, business owners and other people who are responsible for their colleagues’ well-being. 

1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. It impacts all of us, which is why it is so important the services we offer give support to businesses who need it. Buddy believe if you can talk about it, it will enable someone to seek help sooner.  In order to do this, a person has to feel comfortable open up. Creating a workplace culture which is built on the basis of empathy and thoughtfulness will encourage employees to follow suit.  Investing in learning and development for your business will successfully support your employee population.

 If you are considering training your team in First Aid for mental health, click here to speak to a member of our team today.

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