Around one in four people will experience a mental health episode each year, yet only one in eight adults with a mental health condition are currently believed to be receiving the treatment and support they need.
The financial cost to British business of mental ill health is estimated to be at least £26 billion per year – that’s equivalent to £1,035 for every employee. Research indicates that the return from £1 invested in health promotion and intervention is £5 in reduced absenteeism and temporary staff.
For businesses, this presents a challenge as much as an opportunity to play a central role in strengthening the mental wellbeing of their workforce.
Having a clear strategy in place and that proactively protects and cares for mental health issues will reap the rewards of a robust and resilient workforce.
The first ever Solihull Business Expo, which takes place on Wednesday, March 27, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Homer Road, Solihull, is paying particular attention to the mental health concerns of businesses and employees and with the support of Solihull-based Work Wellness Ltd, who will be speaking at the Expo to offer advice and guidance, have created this check-list to improve and support wellbeing in your workplace.
- Establish a culture that recognises and promotes positive conversations about mental health at work. Putting a Wellbeing Policy in place that offers support and signposting options for employees who are experiencing concerns, creates a working environment where employees do not feel so afraid to speak honestly about their mental health.
- Introduce MHFA England training for managers and consider Mental Health First Aider’s on site. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course which teaches people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but just like physical first aid, it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis. Adult MHFA courses are for everyone aged 16 upwards. Work Wellness provide MHFA courses delivered by quality assured Work Wellness Instructors.
- Consider mindful practices. Mindfulness focuses our train of thought and with practice, helps ease anxiety. Mindfulness can be carried out individually or as part of group sessions at your workplace. Work Wellness has a network of qualified associates who can come to you. Colleagues too may wish to lead sessions. Many mindfulness apps can also be found online: headspace.com is one of them.
- Encourage employees to take regular breaks. All too often we get absorbed in our work and forget or opt not to take a break. Moving away from the desk area, stretching (eases and reduces musculoskeletal aches and pains too!), taking a stroll, using the stairs, all heighten our awareness and can make for a more productive afternoon.
- Exercise regularly. Take a lunchtime walk. Go and speak to a colleague rather than e-mail if nearby. Access lunchtime classes if you have a local gym. Recommended exercise of 150 mins per week improves both our mental and physical health. Dependent on your location, set up walking routes/clubs. Exercise and conversation are fantastic for mental and physical wellbeing.
- Healthy food options. Signpost to healthy options in the restaurant. Hold healthy eating days. Regular reminders of the benefits of five a day fruit and veg, reducing salt and sugar. Making healthy choices boosts mood and energy.
- Introduce on-site confidential employee health-checks to promote wellbeing and support your workforce. Work Wellness offer 60-minute clinically-validated ‘Heart & Mind’ checks offering the opportunity for one to one support and professional guidance for your employees.
Author: Fiona Sanderson BA RN SCPHN (Occupational Health), Clinical Director and accredited MHFA Instructor, Work Wellness Ltd. workwellnessuk.co.uk
Find out more about the Solihull Business Expo here