World Mental Health Day – An Employers Perspective updated 2021
A year ago, I wrote the article below. I hoped that the anxiety we all felt might have reduced. Sadly, my experience is that it is going to take a long time for people to deal with the events of 2020.
Not only did people deal with the fear in relation to their and their loved one’s personal safety but also the changes to their social and work lives.
We are now fully open but things have not returned to life before COVID. Things are very different and as an employer we have to learn to manage that.
We are in the process of applying for a COVID grant from Knowsley Council. If successful, the grant will be used on a mental health project. We work with a wonderful coach Judi Hastings https://www.yourtime2change.co.uk/ and we hope that Judi will be able to deliver sessions to our staff as and when needed.
As a manager, I find that sometimes all that is needed is a listening ear. Our staff are not robots. They have relationships, children, health issues………. if we want to be good at our job and deliver a good service, we have to ensure that we look after our most important asset, our staff.
The attitude of “pull yourself together” has been consigned to the history books. All employers have to move with the times and make sure businesses are progressive. It isn’t always easy. As a manager, I am not always in the best frame of mind and I don’t want to project that on to staff. Looming deadlines, staff illness and a whole plethora of other issues mean we are constantly in a state of frazzlement. That leads to burn out and so it is time to de-frazzle as a team.
Let’s hope next year is brighter for individuals and businesses. Please see the links at the bottom of the original article if anyone is struggling. Take care,
This year has been crazy. People from all walks of life are trying to process the changes to our daily lives. Things are uncertain and anxiety is high.
Attitudes to mental health have changed during my time as a solicitor. When I started (almost 18 years ago) there was an attitude that any sign of mental health problems was a weakness. Professional people were meant to be strong and get on with it.
Happily, attitudes began to change. High profile people admitted publicly that they were struggling too. People realised that fame, good looks and money didn’t give you an automatic pass to good mental health.
Professionals such as lawyers, accountants and teachers were allowed to admit that they struggled too. Mental health is a great leveller as it is indiscriminate.
Employers rightly have a duty of care to their employees. This means that workplaces need to be proactive and not just wait for someone to curl up in a ball. There needs to be a culture of not being embarrassed. People need to look out for their colleagues and employees. Often the simple question of “what do you need?” is the best.
If someone is struggling and you give them support they have a much better chance of getting through it. Mental health first aid course are available and employers should be taking it as seriously as physical health.
I’ve heard horror stories of staff furloughed who have not heard from their employers at all. The employees must feel isolated, worried and unvalued. One phone call could make a world of difference.
World Mental Health Day is a timely reminder that we can all make a difference. Small gestures do matter. If you are struggling please reach out for help. A chat can make a world of difference. Employers need to care about their staff. They are a businesses’ best asset and part of a workplace community.
For further information please see below: