Two major health bodies have called on employers to give managers mental health training to facilitate conversations that help address any wellbeing concerns in the workplace.

With it being International Happiness at Work Week, there has never been a better time for Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to raise this issue amongst UK employers.

What mental wellbeing advice has been suggested to employers?

The two health watchdogs have issued some draft guidance that urges businesses to offer training that will suitably prepare managers with the knowledge, tools, skills and resources to improve mental wellbeing awareness at work.

A recent survey operated by Nice and PHE also found that less than a third (30 per cent) of managers, had received any training on mental wellbeing at work.

Not only is training believed to assist with creating workplace conversations on wellbeing concerns, but it also aims to help reduce the stigma surrounding it.

Managers ought to feel confident in addressing and supporting employee concerns – especially those who they may feel are at risk of poor mental health.

What should managers be trained on?

It has been suggested that mental health training for managers should specifically focus on these areas:

  • How to create conversation about mental wellbeing with an employee
  • General information on mental wellbeing
  • How to identify early warning signs of poor mental wellbeing
  • Useful resources on mental wellbeing
  • Being aware of the stigma related to poor mental wellbeing and the ways to break this down
  • Monitoring the wellbeing of everyone in the workplace.

How can managers make a start?

Many of the tools you need to support employee’s mental health coincide with those that make you an effective manager.

Here are some quick steps managers can take to start implementing change in the workplace:

Build a culture of connection

The easiest way to connect with your employees directly is to have regular check-ins with them.

With many employees working from home, this can be difficult at times.

However, setting time aside for a virtual tea break, a quick, chatty catchup or a work progress video call can allow employees to talk about any concerns regularly with you.

Offer flexibility

Ensure that you are taking customised approaches to addressing anything stressing your employees, such as challenges with childcare or their work-life balance.

Managers and employers should offer flexibility proactively.

 This can help your team thrive in their roles, whilst reducing any stresses that are work-life balance associated.

Consider mental health days

Many businesses have started introducing mental health days.

These are specific days that an employee can take as sick leave to manage their mental wellbeing.

These days can be used to relieve stress levels that are building up from work or home-related issues or when they are struggling to manage their emotions.

Model healthy behaviours

Often, managers are so focused on their team and workload that they forget to take care of themselves.

 Share with your team that you are taking a walk, having a day off for your mental wellbeing, or prioritising a staycation.

Demonstrating to your employees that you are taking measures not to experience burn-out, as well as encouraging them to do the same, will ensure that employees mental wellbeing know is a top priority of yours.

At HR Caddy, we continuously share best practice, advice, and expertise on areas such as in-house training and development on things like mental wellbeing.

For more help or advice on related matters, get in touch with our expert team today.