Mental health. We all have it and it's a topic that's being largely discussed. This has subsequently led to mental health and wellbeing programmes and initiatives being rocketed to the top of many business's people strategies.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem in any given year and it is unfortunately due to the negative stereotypes associated with mental health that prevent people from getting the support they might need from their families, friends and colleagues.
So, we're all trying to introduce various wellbeing programmes and initiatives such as the funding of fruit baskets and corporate yoga classes (and yes, we do love these) to support mental health in the workplace. However, how can we ensure that we're actually supporting positive mental health and promoting the wellbeing of our employees' long term?
With it being World Mental Health Day today, it is another powerful platform to draw attention to the importance of mental health and wellbeing. Let's take this opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to mental health in the workplace.
Just by educating yourself, colleagues, employees or peers about mental health and the stigma that surrounds it, you are already taking a step in the right direction, towards helping to challenge the stigma that is associated with mental health.
Facilitate an environment whereby people feel like they can disclose or talk about the challenges that they may be dealing with, by inviting more open conversations about mental health. One way that we are working to encourage conversations about mental health at Marlin Green is by providing information and guidance gathered from mental health and wellbeing charities across the UK, to broaden our employees' knowledge of mental health and the stigma that surrounds it.
You don't need to be an expert to talk about mental health and wellbeing and you don't need to be an expert to be able to support someone who is experiencing or dealing with the symptoms of poor mental health.
You don't need to have the answers. Supporting someone with the struggles that they may be facing doesn't mean that you have to be able to provide answers. Be there for them, show that you are trying to understand what they're experiencing and if it's necessary, be there to help them source the appropriate support.
Need some suggestions on how to start a conversation? Check out Time to Change's campaign called Ask Twice. They identified that over 75% of Brits would say that they're fine when asked 'how are you', even when they're not. So, the Ask Twice campaign encourages us to ask twice and provides us with talking tips to help start a conversation about mental health.
Raylene Luison is the People Manager at Marlin Green and a mental health advocate.
"Last year, I became a Mental Health First Aider and the most impactful lesson that I took away from the course was that I don't have to have any particular answers or advice in order to support someone with their mental health, I just need to be there. In my role, I'm always conscientious of my language and maintaining an objective viewpoint. Completing the Mental Health First Aid course helped me focus on being a better listener and more considerate of individual frame of reference. This has not only had an effect on how I talk about mental health but also how I thrive to support our work environment on a daily basis."