To continue reading please register or login to your OHW+ account.
Employers must deal with mental health problems at work by encouraging managers to start conversations with staff about the issue and helping them to spot the signs of ill health, argues Chris O’Sullivan.
On average, we spend one-third of our lives at work, so unsurprisingly it has a significant impact on our mental wellbeing. Relationships in the workplace are a vital part of this, and have been shown to have an important impact on job satisfaction, skills development, staff turnover, workplace morale, absenteeism and quality of life.
Having a good relationship with your manager has been found to protect against psychological health issues at work; however, worryingly, only 64% of employees in the UK reported the relationship between themselves and their managers as good or very good, while 13% reported relations as poor or very poor in Office for National Statistics figures for 2014.
Employers need to tackle this problem head on. Providing the right training for managers and encouraging them to start conversations about mental health and wellbeing is a good first step. Once they are properly equipped to discuss mental health with employees, they will also be able to spot the signs of distress more effectively. There are a number of ways this can be done.
Develop a culture of openness and awareness
The biggest barrier to managing stress and other mental health issues in the workplace is the reluctance of staff to disclose problems. In fact, 67% of people with mental health problems do not tell their employer because they worry about the reaction, according to the “Ti