Arguably, mental health is being talked about more than ever before. Changing an organisation’s culture doesn’t happen overnight but increasingly employers are recognising the importance of creating mentally healthy workplaces.
What can we do?
Time to Talk Day, which takes place on 7th February provides the opportunity to open up the conversation about mental health in your practice. It’s a nationwide push to encourage conversations about mental health, a chance for all of us to be more open – to talk, to listen, to change lives.
You can download and customise free resources to help you promote Time to Talk Day.
From a coffee morning at your work, to a stall handing out materials at your local train station, there are lots of activities you can do to get people talking on Time to Talk Day.
We’ve made some handy guides to help you plan an activity and get people talking, whether in your community or your workplace.
Download a guide to help you supercharge your activity.
How to support a colleague or someone you manage
Almost one in three of us has experienced a mental health problem while in employment. That might be more common than you thought. Here are our tips for supporting a colleague.
- You don’t have to be an expert to be in your colleague’s corner; listening and not judging are some of the most significant things you can do.
- Be aware that they might not want to talk about it – it can be hard to open up about mental health at work, so make sure to respect that.
- As an alternative, small, kind gestures – like making a cup of tea – can help them feel like part of the team again.
- Take their lead: show an interest in their condition and how it affects them, but be aware that it can be hard to have conversations about your mental health at work, so be patient.
- If you’re a manager, having regular catch-ups and supervisions can help both parties recognise stress or other signs to watch out for. You may also need to consider any adjustments you need to make to support them.
Time to Change Employer pledge
Working with employers from a variety of sectors over the last seven years has given us a good indication of what works to ensure a mentally healthy workplace, and these key elements are incorporated into the Time to Change Employer pledge. This gives organisations the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to opening up the conversation about mental health. So far, over 1000 organisations have made that commitment.
But signing the pledge is just the first step and there are many more things employers can be doing to create a more open working environment. Senior leaders have a pivotal role to play in leading by example, being open about their own experiences with mental health problems sends the strong message that this isn’t a sign of weakness and doesn’t limit your ambition or aspiration. Employers tell us that employees at all levels talking honestly and openly about their experiences has contributed hugely to a cultural shift about the topic.
Research also consistently shows that when employees feel their work is meaningful and they are valued and supported, they tend to have higher wellbeing levels. We often talk about a three pronged approach that employers can adopt by: promoting wellbeing for all staff; tackling the causes of work related mental health problems; and supporting staff who are experiencing mental health problems.
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma campaign run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness
FREE Mental Health in the Workplace eLearning Course
Practice Index is pleased to announce a free 30-minute eLearning course called Mental Health in the Workplace for all staff working in general practice. It is now available on the HUB. This short course has been designed to help staff to recognise when colleagues may be experiencing mental health problems and offers advice on how they can support their colleagues effectively.