This Mental Health Awareness Week, RoSPA expert Phil Olding discusses workplace wellbeing solutions
As a workplace wellbeing trainer for over 40 years I have literally listened to thousands of people expressing how they have come to terms with all aspects of wellbeing, both in and out of work.
Until around three years ago there was little comment about mental or social health, but since then almost all conversations have been about mental health and the need for greater awareness and less stigma in the workplace.
Companies are now faced with a unique opportunity to reflect on our current working practices and the wellbeing support we offer to our employees.
The temptation is to focus only on the mental health of our workforce, but it is important to also promote physical and social health at the same time.
The methods of doing this are challenging, with many people having their normal routines completely changed thanks to enforced homeworking. The issue of changing the structure of the onsite workplace will undoubtedly also challenge many employees.
So what is the solution to the problem?
Whilst we often operate at work in social groups and teams, our mental and physical health, thoughts and behaviours are completely unique. Therefore the solutions will also be unique.
Workplaces can look at the organisational, social, cultural and environmental changes that will support positive health and wellbeing. At individual level organisations can help employees by raising awareness of the issues of mental health stress and resilience, which can help reduce stigma often found in the workplace.
Line managers can be trained to listen more effectively. They can identify their boundaries, which give them the confidence to engage safely. They can also learn that they don’t need to “fix” the problem, that the answers generally lie within the employee and that by listening effectively they can help them find their own solutions.
Here at RoSPA we have three Wellbeing and Mental Health
virtual training courses that are specifically designed to support individuals and organisations to promote positive mental health.
They are: TALK Mental Health
; Learn Stress and Resilience
; and Listen Wellbeing BUDIES
Here are some of the tips we cover in these courses:
Be more active
We mustn’t forget the relationship between physical and mental health. COVID deaths seemed to be higher for those that have diabetes and obesity. Supporting your staff’s physical, mental and social health are all important. One of the best ways to promote all areas of health is physical activity. One of the advantages of homeworking is that we can use any spare travel time to get more active. This is also a proven way to reduce the impact of stress and low mood or depression.
By connecting with friends and family we can express how we are feeling; this support can be really helpful. By talking to each other we can get a better understanding of ourselves, and the benefit of this interaction is greatly improved if the colleague or line manager has effective listening skills.
Speaking of which, one of the many challenges remote working produces is how to effectively support your colleagues over the phone. This situation actually makes listening skills even more important as you don’t have the visual signals to support your interaction.
The mental health and stress and resilience courses
are both designed to help delegates get a better understanding of themselves. This can really help start the process of recovery, and we cover how to signpost for self-help or professional help. We also deal with what to do in a crisis, for example if a colleague is contemplating suicide.
Posted: 5/18/2020 3:54:10 PM