9 Essential Reasons Employers Need to Invest in Mental Health Training for Managers
Why do managers need mental health training?
Our training helps everyone, from employers to executive leaders, learn the tools for providing a mentally fit workplace that is good for business. They will learn to use early identification principles, bolstered with CBT evidence-based interventions to support employees. Removing the taboo is vital to early detection and future-proofing employee mental health.
- Spot the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues
- Provide non-judgemental support and reassurance
- Guide a person to seek professional support
Is mental health training a legal requirement in the UK?
Mental health training in the workplace is a recommendation, not legislation, so employers must meet no set requirement to have sufficient mental health provisions. However, NICE and Public Health England have released a guideline on Mental Wellbeing at Work that covers how to create the right conditions to support mental well-being at work through an environment and culture of participation, equality, safety and fairness in the workplace based on open communication.
What is the impact of poor mental health in the workplace?
The largest causes of sickness absence in the UK’s workforce is depression, stress, and anxiety. Mental illness costs UK businesses up to £45 billion every year. This equates to sick leave, substituting employees who vacate their roles, reduced productivity and employees showing up to work who are not fully functioning.
Outlined below are 9 essential reasons why investing in mental health training for managers should be top of the agenda for this year and heading into 2023.
Raises Awareness of Mental Illnesses
When employers implement mental health training, they normalise meaningful conversations around the most common mental health illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. Often, mental health is seen as ‘invisible’, but organisations have the power to transform how we show up for our colleagues so no one has to suffer in silence. When people feel comfortable talking about their mental health with others, they’re less likely to become disengaged or withdraw.
Encourages early intervention to aid recovery
Preventing poor mental health from developing is more effective than waiting until people become ill. In troubling times where an employee needs additional support, employers must be equipped with the right skills to recognise the early warning signs and be confident enough to encourage professional help where necessary. By becoming more informed and aware, employees and managers can spot the signs sooner rather than later. This reduces the likelihood of mild symptoms becoming more severe and can make recovery easier.
Increases confidence in dealing with mental illnesses
According to a recent study, three in five UK business leaders say they now feel more responsible for their employees’ mental health and wellbeing since the beginning of the pandemic. If managers can have confident conversations about mental health without feeling like they may overstep their boundaries, they can reduce the risk of presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover. Finding that line between offering support and offering solutions can be more straightforward with training.
Reduces stigma around mental health issues
Someone with poor mental health may not realise it, making it harder for managers to address it. Even if they do realise it, they may be reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. For an employee experiencing a mental health issue, your organisation’s informed and supportive response is likely to lead to a much more beneficial outcome.
Employers are currently facing some complex challenges when attracting new talent and retaining their talent. Many companies have noted the mental health toll the pandemic has had on their workforce and have responded by offering their employees more well-being benefits and training incentives to support employee needs.
Reduced absence / sick leave
Mental illness is the leading cause of workplace sickness absence. In 2020, 38.8 million working days were lost due to work-related ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries, with the average person taking 17 days off work. Over the same period, the latest government research shows depression or anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases and 55% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health.
Considering the unique challenges the global population faced during this time, the main factors cited were mostly; work-related stress, depression or anxiety related to workload pressures, including tight deadlines, too much responsibility, and a lack of managerial support.
With such a high percentage of working days lost to mental health, businesses need to look at ways to invest in mental health training for their leaders. This investment can reduce suffering and create a workplace environment that promotes employee well-being and open and honest dialogues about mental health.
In the age of presenteeism, many workers will try to work through a period of illness – but their productivity and quality of work will suffer.
A survey by CV-Library found that 14.1% of workers consider themselves to have a mental health problem. Workers don’t have to be clinically diagnosed with mental illness to have symptoms that affect their work and home life. Often people will not know that they are experiencing symptoms of a specific disorder – instead, they might think they’re simply going through a ‘rough patch’ or see chronic stress in the workplace as a part of the job.
By partnering with a mental health training provider, employers can reduce the number of days lost to sickness and reduce the stress and anxiety experienced by individual workers who are hiding their mental health problems due to the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace.
Lower employee turnover
A staggering 50% of millennial employees and 75% of Generation Z employees have left jobs for mental health reasons. Financial problems such as unaffordable living costs and overwhelming debt impact their psychological well-being. How are employers trained to deal with these stressors? Are they prepared to signpost the right resources?
Business leaders and Corporate health and wellbeing directors that prioritise mental wellbeing have a real opportunity to reduce employee turnover and increase the engagement and happiness of their workforce.
Motivation towards development and performance improvement
Workers who are happy and not stressed or anxious at work will be motivated towards professional development. They will find it easier to concentrate on complex tasks and will be more inclined to collaborate with colleagues. This will affect their current performance and future success in their job.
When workers can’t focus on a task due to mental health issues, concentration will impede the ability to learn new skills or problem-solve, halting or postponing vital development opportunities for promising workers.
One in five women (compared to one in eight men) suffer from a mental illness, LGBT+ people are more than twice as likely to develop depression and anxiety, and people from black and minority ethnic groups are far more likely to be diagnosed with and admitted to hospital for mental health problems.
A McKinsey report on ‘Why Diversity Matters’ shows that businesses that champion diversity are 15-35% more likely to financially outperform their competitors. Companies that don’t support mental wellbeing initiatives or have a poor track record for supporting previous employees will find it even harder to attract, engage, retain and develop diverse employees.
Onebright is building a new way to deliver mental healthcare for employees and their dependents worldwide – investing in clinical expertise and technology solutions to deliver a complete mental healthcare service at scale. Talk to us today about creating a brighter workplace with respect and acknowledging every employee’s mental health needs.
Our goal is to encourage employers to put employee wellbeing first. Learn more about our training and consultancy by heading to our employee mental health training page. All sessions can be done online, video conference, telephone, or in-person. Accredited CBT therapists facilitate the sessions.
Want to talk to us about mental health training?
Supporting your employees’ mental health as they work remotely
But how can employers support mental health in their remote workers while maintaining the trust and respecting autonomy?
It all starts with your managers. Even in the most challenging and uncertain times, managers can show certain leadership habits in supporting their staff to encourage an open and honest conversation around employee mental health.
A new Catalyst survey shows managers who express vulnerability in the workplace have stronger teams who are more willing to “go above and beyond”. Yet, in this survey of over 12,000 employees, they found that only 24% of respondents said their manager was often or always vulnerable. While HR and managers are not experts in mental health, there is an opportunity to foster a virtual workplace culture of openness.
It may feel uncomfortable at first and even more unfamiliar in a virtual setting. Still, leaders who can talk about and show a broad spectrum of emotions are role models for healthy behaviours.
Not having to ‘cover’ someone’s true self is essential for creating a ‘psychologically safe’ virtual workplace. Once workers feel psychologically safe, they feel like they can make mistakes without penalty or reach out for help to a colleague without any stigma attached.
Another key area where managers can support mental health remotely is through meaningful, consistent communication. It can be difficult given that it is unlikely they see every employee every day when working remotely; this is where signs of an employee struggling can fly under the radar for a long time. However, when managers can demonstrate their awareness and understanding of how commonplace conditions such as anxiety and depression can be, this can remove part of the stress of trying to hide the problem on those occasions when someone checks in.
Onebright recommends employers need to be very clear on communicating what staff are entitled to by reinforcing the following:
- Workers are entitled to be heard
- Workers can have a confidential conversation about mental health problems and how it’s affecting their work
- Workers can ask for help
- Workers can have these requests promptly dealt with
Utilising the latest digital innovations, Onebright offers companies, both small and global, industry-leading, expert mental health training courses using a newly designed (co-created with clinicians) digital platform. Our training courses empower your workforce to develop life-enhancing techniques to cope with daily life pressures when working remotely.
Whether employees log in after a hard day to complete some stress management modules or use our evidence-driven mindfulness exercises during a lunch break, working remotely doesn’t need to come at the expense of a talented employee’s mental health.
Our specialist team of trainers of clinicians and academics, many of whom also have international business experience, can meet your unique training needs.