Why is mental health in the workplace important?

Importance of mental health in the workplace

Supporting good mental health in the workplace benefits everyone.

According to the mental health charity Mind, one in six workers is dealing with a mental health problem like anxiety or depression.

The environment and culture we work in can greatly impact our mental health, so employers must take responsibility for managing and supporting good mental health in the workplace.

In this article, we’ll explore why managing mental health in the workplace is so important, its advantages, and how to get started.

Why is mental health important in the workplace?

First and foremost, supporting employee mental health in the workplace is the right thing to do. Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy working environment.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 15% of working-age adults have a mental disorder. Working can help to improve a person’s mental health, but it can also worsen it if the employer does not manage and support its employees’ mental health.

Understanding and supporting mental health in the workplace helps create an inclusive, happy, healthy, and motivated work environment – which benefits both employees and employers.

What are the benefits of good mental health in the workplace?

Investing in employee mental health is a strategy that usually offers businesses an excellent return on investment (ROI). The advantages of prioritising mental well-being in the workplace often far exceed the associated costs. These benefits are felt by everyone within a business from the top down. Beyond its organisational advantages, fostering a mentally healthy work environment also enriches the individual well-being of each employee, making it a win-win investment for both personal and corporate growth.

Benefits for employees

  • Improved well-being – A healthy work environment helps to improve an individual’s overall well-being, enabling them to thrive on both a personal and professional level.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety – When mental health is understood, openly discussed, and supported in the workplace, it can help reduce the stress and anxiety employees experience.
  • Better work/life balance – Good mental health at work goes hand-in-hand with a healthy work/life balance. When employees have a good work/life balance, they have more time for the things that help them to destress and feel happy and healthy. It is also easier for them to manage other commitments like childcare without stress.
  • Job satisfaction – Employees are likely to experience heightened job satisfaction and loyalty when they work for a progressive, forward-thinking company that values not only their performance but also their health and well-being.

Benefits for employers

  • Honour duty of care – Employers have a duty of care to their employees. Putting measures in place to support mental health at work helps to honour this duty.
  • Boost productivity and performance – Mentally fit Employees are generally more focused and productive. They will likely contribute more effectively in their roles, ultimately benefiting the company’s bottom line.
  • Boost staff morale and collaboration – A mentally healthy workforce is generally more engaged and harmonious. A more engaged and motivated workforce is more likely to collaborate effectively, helping the business to achieve its goals.
  • Reduce sick days – According to the WHO, twelve billion working days are lost yearly to anxiety and depression. By fostering a mentally healthy work environment, employers can reduce the costs associated with absenteeism.
  • Increase employee retention rates – When employees have good job satisfaction, they will likely stay in their roles for longer, reducing the employer’s staff turnover rate and the associated recruiting costs.
  • Enhance company reputation – Companies focusing on supporting their workforce’s mental health are usually considered responsible, forward-thinking, and ethical businesses. This image can enhance their public image and relations.
  • Attract top talent – Companies with an excellent reputation for caring about and looking after their employee’s mental health are often seen as attractive companies to work for, helping them to attract and retain top talent in their industry.

How can mental health in the workplace be supported?

Are you inspired to improve the mental health support available at your workplace?

We’ve compiled a list of five important ways that businesses can support a mentally healthy workforce.

Train staff in mental health – To successfully support mental health at work, those in senior positions at the company must be onboard and educated in the cause. Managers will need to be supportive and start conversations surrounding mental health awareness in the workplace. Therefore, they need to receive adequate training to help them do so. Completing a specialist course like the FAA Level 3 Award in Supervising First Aid for Mental Health (RQF) that we offer here at Care Business Associate Training (CBAT) can help managers and team leaders learn more about mental health in the workplace and how to create a positive mental health culture at work.

Have conversations about mental health – Normalise talking about mental health at work to foster a culture of openness. This helps employees to feel more comfortable discussing any issues they may be having at work and asking for the help or support they need when they need it.

Support flexible working arrangements – Flexible working arrangements like flexi-time and home working can help employees achieve the healthy work/life balance key to good mental health.

Introduce mental health initiatives – From lunch break walks or mindfulness sessions to free counselling services, introducing initiatives designed to boost employee well-being or encourage habits inducive of good mental health can make a big difference and demonstrate a business’s commitment to supporting mental health.

Ensure company policies support mental well-being – Review and revise company policies to ensure they promote mental well-being. This may involve incorporating mental health into sickness policies and ensuring reasonable adjustments for those with mental health conditions to create a company culture that prioritises its employees’ mental health.