Conversations around mental health are now more prominent, especially online. But is it discussed openly enough in the workplace?
According to a recent survey, 60% of people said they would be embarrassed disclosing information about the state of their mental health to their employer.
Below are a few tips to help foster open and healthy conversations around mental health in the workplace.
This is not medical guidance. You should always seek professional advice if you are concerned about your mental health. More information is available here.
Check in with one another
Make a habit out of checking in with one another. This means genuinely asking about whether someone is okay or not and being willing to really listen to what they have to say. It can take the form of casual but sincere chat. If your colleague is not ready to share, asking about their wellbeing at least shows you care and may encourage a fuller conversation later. A simple ‘are you ok?’ can make a world of difference.
Establish safe spaces to talk
Creating designated safe spaces for team members can be helpful in encouraging openness and establishing a work environment that doesn’t shy away from conversations around mental health. These safe spaces can come in the form of anonymous channels, external services, or designated colleagues everyone knows can be approached in confidence.
Consider taking mental health training
While we might have good intentions, helping a colleague in need can sometimes require more formal training. Ensuring several team members have received mental health training means there will be people who know how to respond in the right way to someone dealing with a mental health issue. At the same time, this grows trust as people know there is someone equipped to support them.
Create a mental health support network
It may be difficult to speak up about your mental health in the workplace, particularly with senior colleagues. A voluntary mental health support network among peers can help bridge that gap as colleagues can act as mediators and relieve employees of the pressure to speak to managers. Ideally, members of the support network would have received training as well so they can respond appropriately. - thefocus.com
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