It’s Time to Talk to employees about mental health

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With around 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health issue in any given year, and 90% of people reporting that struggling with mental health issues stops them from thriving at work and performing to the best of their ability, developing a culture within your business where your employees feel safe to openly address any mental health issues should be a priority.

This year, the mental health movement, ‘Time to Change’ is launching a campaign to get everyone talking about mental health issues in a bid to break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and end the stigma surrounding mental health. ‘Time to Talk’ takes place on Thursday 7th February, encouraging everyone to open up the conversation about mental health.

With 1.5 million working people in the UK living with a diagnosed long-term mental health condition, it is important to treat poor mental health in the same way as a physical illness and have services in place to support employees to improve their mental health. Supporting your workforce’s mental wellbeing will also keep absenteeism and presenteeism to a minimum.

Our recent research into the link between musculoskeletal and mental health, has revealed that depression is four times as likely in people who experience persistent pain. This is why it is important you have an integrated wellbeing strategy which deals with physical and mental health holistically.

At Health Shield, our Health Cash Plans offer a number of digital solutions to employee wellbeing, ranging from our NHS-approved* mental health app – Thrive, to our On-Demand Physio and GP Anytime services, all designed to be easily accessible, innovative and user-driven.

Investing in employee mental health can make a big difference to your business’s productivity, as well as your employees’ motivation and engagement, as our recent social media poll found that 57% of people said that if their employer proactively supported their mental wellbeing, it would help them to feel more loyal, be more productive and take less time off. Our poll also found that 62% of people said that if their employer proactively supported their mental wellbeing, it would help them achieve a better work-life balance.

How to start the conversation
When starting a conversation with someone about mental health, it’s best to take the following steps:

  1. Don’t make assumptions
  2. Encourage seeking support from services
  3. Ensure trust and confidentiality
  4. Choose an appropriate place and time
  5. Listen – and don’t judge
  6. Reassure
  7. Be open about yourself
  8. Check back with the person to see how they are getting on.

For help with spotting the signs and supporting staff, read our e-book on supporting mental health.

Get involved
Whether you are planning a coffee morning in your workplace or community or an activity in school, you can order a free pack of materials including postcards, posters, conversation starters and tip cards. To order yours click here.

For more information on Time to Talk Day 2019, head to the Time to Change website.

For information on how Health Shield’s services can improve the health and wellbeing of your employees, click here.

Support Lines

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health problems, below are several organisations that offer mental health support.

Samaritans
116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)

Mind Infoline
0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday)

Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line
0300 5000 927 (9.30am-4pm Monday to Friday)

Saneline
0300 304 7000 (4.30pm-10.30pm)

*The app meets NHS quality standards for clinical effectiveness, safety, usability and accessibility and has a supportive evidence base.
** Up to agreed limits.