Dear HR Managers: Here's why mental health training for managers should be top of your HR agenda

Taking care of mental health is key to a good work-life balance. This article will give you an overview of how you can support your employees' mental wellbeing and why it's crucial to train your managers in providing mental health support.

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We all know that mental health is important for our wellbeing. And it is especially important in the workplace, where we spend the majority of our days. According to the Mental Health Foundation, over 1 in 7 people experience mental health problems in the workplace, and around 13% of all sickness absence days can be attributed to poor mental health.

As a company, this can have a big effect on your bottom line. In addition to doing what's right for your employees' mental wellbeing, which should always be your first and foremost priority, mental health training could save money for your business in lost productivity and sick days.

You’ll see a return in spending when you have a happier, more productive, and more present workforce. This article digs into why it's so important for managers to have the tools and know-how to support their team's mental health, and how you can work towards creating a compassionate and supportive workplace culture, through mental health support.

Why is mental health relevant in the workplace?

Mental health encompasses a broad spectrum of conditions, including anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout. These conditions can affect someone's performance at work, their productivity, and their overall satisfaction with their job. Despite how common mental health challenges are (1 in 4 adults will experience at least one mental health problem in any given year), there remains a stigma, and a lack of mental health awareness, surrounding mental illness in many workplaces. This can often stop employees from seeking help and support.

A manager's role in mental health support

Managers play a crucial role in creating a supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns. They are often the first point of contact for employees experiencing mental health issues and can provide essential support and resources.

If managers are fostering open communication and mental health conversations, they can help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and help to promote a culture of inclusivity and support, where every person can bring their best selves to work.

Okay, now that we've established why it's important to have training sessions for managers to maintain healthy workplaces, let's look at what that training should include:

Identifying signs of mental ill-health

Mental health training for managers should include education on recognising the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions. This will include anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout, but also bipolar disorder, compulsive disorder, and panic attacks. Anything that could be described as mental ill-health.

Things to look out for would include changes in behaviour, mood swings, decreased productivity, and increased absenteeism. If someone is looking a bit absent or is quiet in a meeting or a call, check in with them and reach out. We recommend getting some mental health experts or mental health trainers in to provide training for your management team because sometimes it can be difficult to know if someone is just having a bad day or if it's part of a more serious problem.

Equipped with this knowledge and mental health awareness, managers will be able to intervene early and provide appropriate support and accommodations to their team members.

At Fertifa, we provide support for all of the many mental and emotional health challenges that reproductive health issues can bring. Book a call to find out more about how we can support your employees through this.

Effective communication

Beyond simply identifying that something is wrong, managers need to be able to communicate effectively with their teams. This is essential when addressing mental health issues in the workplace. People will only want to open up to someone who feels trustworthy and who will respond appropriately to their concerns. Open and frank conversations, as well as concerns being taken seriously, will help to break down the mental health stigmas that exist in workplaces.

Managers should be trained in active listening techniques, empathy, and non-judgmental communication. By creating a safe and supportive space for employees to discuss their mental health concerns, managers can help create meaningful dialogue and provide valuable support.

Providing support and accommodations for your team

Mental health training for managers should also focus on providing practical support and accommodations to employees experiencing mental health challenges. This may include flexible work arrangements, access to mental health resources and support services, and reasonable accommodations to help employees manage their workload. By offering personalised support and accommodations, managers can help employees navigate their mental health challenges while supporting them with their work and wellbeing.

Fostering a culture of wellbeing

Ultimately, mental health training for managers is about creating a lasting culture of wellbeing within the workplace. It's both about supporting employees through mental health challenges as they come up, but also about creating a culture that helps to fend the challenges off. Essentially, we want managers to become mental health experts and team leaders in this field, taking initiative and actively working towards a better workplace culture.

By prioritising mental health and providing support at all levels of your company, you can cultivate a positive work environment where employees feel valued, respected, and supported. This, in turn, leads to increased morale, productivity, and overall organisational success.

What are the benefits of mental health training for managers?

Managers who have strong mental health skills and a good understanding of mental health in the workplace are essential in creating a positive and supportive work environment.

By recognising and addressing potential mental ill-health within their teams, managers can provide the necessary support to help employees be their best selves at work. This leads to increased talent retention too, as employees will feel more valued and supported in their workplace if they know that their employer truly cares about their mental health.

By providing mental health skills for managers or anyone with people management responsibilities, your company can make sure it's delivering a consistent approach to mental health and wellbeing across different teams and departments. This promotes a culture of open communication and support for mental health throughout the entire organisation, ultimately leading to healthier performance and productivity.

With the proper mental health awareness training for managers, they'll be equipped to identify signs of mental ill-health in their team members and have open conversations about it in a supportive way.

When managers show that they really care about their team's mental wellbeing, it makes a big difference.

It's not just about saying it – it's about showing it, too. By being open and supportive, managers create a safe space for their team to talk about how they're feeling and get the help they need. Active listening is key! When managers take care of themselves, it sets a great example for their team. It's like saying, "Hey, it's okay to take care of yourself!" And when everyone feels supported, it makes the whole team stronger. So, by helping managers learn how to support mental health, companies can make sure their teams are ready to take on anything.

Implementing mental health awareness training for managers is not just a moral imperative; it's essential for creating a healthy and productive work environment. By equipping managers with the knowledge and skills to support employee mental wellbeing, companies can create a culture of compassion, resilience, and inclusivity, benefiting employees and the organisation as a whole.

If you're looking to put mental health support and benefits in place, book in a call below with our team who can talk you through how to work with Fertifa.