mental health workplace wellness

Report Cites ‘Call to Action’ To Increase Focus on Employee Mental Wellbeing

Yesterday we noted that among the workplace trends for 2018, employee mental wellness is key on the list.

To this point, a recent report reviewed the importance of helping employees manage mental well-being and asked the question: Are we at a tipping point?

The report by Deloitte is titled “At a Tipping Point? Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing.” It begins: “Public awareness of the importance of good workplace mental health and wellbeing is growing, as is the moral, societal and business case for improving it. Yet, despite this, many employers experience numerous challenges in improving their performance in supporting employee mental health and wellbeing. Our report is designed as a call to action for employers, whatever their current position, as well as a practical guide on how to address some of the main barriers to improvement.”

The piece outlines why mental wellbeing matters.

“Promoting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is important for employees, their employers, society and the economy. This is because poor mental health impacts individuals’ overall health, their ability to work productively (if at all), their relationships with others, and societal costs related to unemployment, poor workplace productivity and health and social care.”

The study calls out workplace wellness programs — and other company-based actions — as central to helping employees as well as improving employers’ bottom lines.

Employers: “It is important to raise the priority given to mental health and wellbeing in order to move toward a culture which proactively manages mental wellbeing. This could be through the appointment of health and wellbeing leads, or signing-up for corporate pledges. It is also important to take stock and monitor performance using validated tools to track quantifiable measures and gain momentum and buy-in around wellbeing programmes. This can allow organisations to implement relevant initiatives, such as mental health training for managers, and track and promote their success in line with other business metrics.”

Employees: “It is important to become actively engaged in their own health and wellbeing and participate in strategies that promote both mental and physical wellbeing. This includes employee involvement in workplace programmes around mental health, with potential actions including volunteering as a mental health champion or making efforts to address stigma through sharing personal stories. Employees should also be made aware of the support available to colleagues and any strategies available to support employee mental wellbeing.”

It seems that in many ways, a well-run workplace wellness program could provide strong assistance. Wrote Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing, Mind:

“In seeking to move from rhetoric to reality employers must mainstream good mental health and make it a core business priority. A mentally healthy workplace and increased employee engagement are interdependent – by looking after employee’s mental wellbeing, staff morale and loyalty, innovation, productivity and profits will rise. In order to create a mentally healthy workplace, we recommend that employers put in place a comprehensive strategy to help people stay well at work, to tackle the root causes of work-related mental health problems and to support people who are experiencing a mental health problem.”

The report notes some positive global workplace trends towards helping address mental well-being, it also recognizes that businesses — and society — have improvement to make in several areas, including:

  • “Failure to see employee mental health as a priority against other operational demands”
  • “Reactive approach to implementing mental wellbeing policies rather than focussing on prevention”
  • “Lack of understanding around how the company currently performs in this space”
  • “Poor evidence base to measure the return on investment of any programmes
  • “Lack of best practice examples to promote improvements”
  • “Workplace stigma and perceptions around mental health underlie and exacerbate many of these challenges”