Information taken from BITC – Mental Health toolkit
A structure that works
To implement your approach to mental health, it is important to have structures in place that allow for information on mental health to be shared with all, for feedback to be passed back up to the top and for everyone to feel there is a structure in place that will promote their health and protect them if they become unwell.
An essential part of making this work is training employees so they have the competence and confidence to bring the mental health policies and programmes to life. Training can take many forms: induction processes, staff handbook modules, specialist supervision, intranet hosted or even lunch and learns. Training can be internal but there are also a range of options for bringing in effective external support to deliver training to be better at understanding and responding to their own and others mental heath issues. Charities such as Mental Health First Aid, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness have a number of options.
Get the right structures in place
- Ensure there is a clear structure within your organisation for sharing of sensitive information on mental health and that everyone is aware of who they can speak to about their own mental health.
- Make sure any new employees are aware of your mental health policies and procedures by making positive references to them during their induction.
Offer training on mental health
- Train all existing and new managers on mental health, your plans and to build their confidence in supporting staff with mental health problems.
- Ensure that supporting employee mental health is embedded within the line managers’ job descriptions at every tier of the organisation and that they are aware it is a central part of their role.
- Ensure training is inclusive – record training sessions to share with remote workers.
Leaders who get it right are confident in communicating about mental health in their workplace. They take responsibility to commit to cultural improvements, participate in training themselves and break stigma about mental health and career progression. Some good senior leaders are even open about their experiences, their coping mechanisms and tips for resilience, which can help to normalise the conversation and reduce stigma.
Good managers don’t try and do too much and do not try to be therapists. They are conscious of the signs of poor mental health, clear on the support available and ‘check in’ with individuals at appropriate times. They encourage safe disclosure and employee led ideas for adjustments. Managers who show empathy, compassion, fairness and consistency have been found to be respected, and have kept more valued talent at work. This includes undertaking basic manager duties such as 1-to-1s, appraisals and catch-ups.