An estimated 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from a mental problem each year.
As an employer, we recognise our responsibility to support our employees, understand best practices, and identify ways to support those who are suffering.
What did we want to learn about?
Our goal was to learn more about the wide range of mental health illnesses employees may experience, better understand potential ‘triggers’ and better identify changes in people’s behaviour that may indicate an underlying issue.
We hoped that a deeper understanding of mental illness and how it can affect individuals might allow us to implement the correct measures to improve support for our employees.
What we discovered
We received advice on how to have sensitive conversations and build supportive relationships – both of which can help give employees confidence to speak up if they’re suffering.
We also learned more about the adjustments we can make for affected employees. This could include flexibility to go to doctor or therapist appointments, or time out, where if symptoms come on suddenly an employee can go and take a 5 minute break.
This measure can help us to better protect those at risk, and in turn allow us to build a more resilient business.
The session also offered tips on how and where to signpost employees should they appear to be suffering from mental illness, be it, towards their GP or a mental health specialist. An employee could even be signposted to an organisation with more information on mental health, such as MIND.
Our eyes were also opened to the range of ‘triggers’ that might cause an individual’s mental health issues to come to the surface. These included things such as:
- People you work with
- Pressured working environment
- Significant life events
The event explored the central role affected individuals must take in to order to maintain their mental wellbeing.
While an individual who has a mental illness needs to be well supported, individuals must take meaningful steps themselves to understand their illness and develop strategies to manage it.
Our future plans
Within WeAnswer we’ve begun a review of our current practices to identify areas in which we can improve and the support we can – and should – be offering.
As part of this we plan to improve mental health training for our managers and team leaders, so as a team we can find ways to better support our colleagues.
By improving our training, introducing changes and working in partnership with colleagues, we aim to build an even more supportive working environment for all our people.