The importance of mental health in the workplace

Employers have a duty of care to their workers, and it is easy for them to help look after the physical condition of their employees.

Things like fire extinguishers, PPE and first aid kits from retailers such as RS must be readily available to ensure the safety of workers operating in potentially hazardous conditions.

However, the same attention is not given to mental health.

Read on to find out why mental health is important, why employers need to be aware of it and what they can do to help.

Why is good mental health important?

A person’s mental health affects every aspect of their life. It impacts how we feel, think and behave.

Good mental health enables us to live a happy, fulfilling life, but difficulties in the same area can make it far more difficult to go about everyday life.

Poor mental health can lead to conditions like stress, depression and anxiety. People who feel like they’ve been affected by such issues can visit their doctor or seek assistance from a local charity.

Why is it important at work?

There are many benefits derived from a workforce with good mental health. These include:

  • Higher productivity levels
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Better teamwork
  • Happier clients 

One in seven people experience mental health problems in the workplace, so it is by no means a fringe issue for employers. Furthermore, 12.7% of sickness absences in the UK are linked to mental health conditions.

There are clear benefits for companies from employees with good mental health, so looking to help nurture that can is a win-win situation for both parties.

What can companies do?

It is estimated that businesses could save up to £8 billion by providing their workers with better mental health support.

The first thing to do is get support systems in place. This could be training staff members to be able to speak to others about their mental health concerns, or providing access to an anonymous phone line where employees can speak to someone.

Once these systems are in place it should be communicated to employees that these are available – mental health charity Mind has several free resources to help if you are unsure what services you could offer.

This awareness and openness can help foster a culture that removes the stigma associated with mental health. If workers feel more comfortable voicing their concerns about the workplace they are less likely to need to take time off.

Employees that feel more content at work will likely carry out their duties to a higher level, and by showing an empathetic side the company can encourage workers to maintain those standards.

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