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Making it count

Assisting organisations and workers with mental health

Date posted
17 May 2024
Type
Opinion
Author
Dr Karen Michell
Estimated reading time
3 minute read

Dr Karen Michell, our research programme lead for occupational health, is blogging regularly throughout mental health awareness week (13–19 May). In the final blog of the week, Karen picks out the best approaches for smaller companies to make a difference to their workers' mental health.

There is a need to better support SMEs to implement measures to promote wellbeing and prevent non-clinical mental health issues among their employees.

The MENTUPP research identifies a variety of challenges, needs and possibilities related to implementing mental health interventions in SMEs.

This blog explores ways that SMEs can approach workplace mental health interventions, so they are able to make effective and efficient use of their resources.

Worker needs

Conduct needs assessments such as surveys and discussions with key worker groups to establish their perceptions and needs. This will serve as a basis of identifying worker needs.

Develop and implement mental health support and interventions into existing health related policies. Be realistic about what you can achieve and allow for future growth and development in your policies.

Create mentally healthy workplaces that support workers. Practices that could be adopted include being more agile and flexible, and avoiding and addressing causes of workplace psychosocial stress such as long hours and excessive workloads.

"Ensure good supervisory skills through education and awareness so supervisors can champion interventions while having the knowledge to support workers and direct them to suitable resources where necessary."

Job role
Company

Create safe spaces for workers to discuss their concerns without fear of discrimination.

Train managers, supervisors and human resources personnel to promote wellbeing in the workplace. This includes details such as the value of:

  • healthy eating
  • exercise
  • positive lifestyle changes (reducing alcohol consumption)
  • relaxation techniques
  • stress management.

These are all techniques that can help to not only improve but sustain good mental health.

Normalising the conversation around mental health is important. It creates a situation where workers don't feel stigmatised when talking about their own mental health and become more empathetic where others do the same.

Strengthen interpersonal relationships, especially between supervisors and workers so workers feel confident to address issues of mental health in the workplace.

Make efforts to increase workers’ knowledge of mental health and the things that can be done by them to improve their own mental health through posters and intranet messaging.

Urgent

The Mind charity's theme for mental health awareness week is ‘no mind left behind’.

SMEs currently receive scant support with the creation of mentally healthy workplaces and often where interventions are applied, they are not cost effective and lack evidence of their value.

There is an urgent need to promote wellbeing and good mental health to address the current levels of poor non-clinical mental health and prevent future cases.

SMEs employ a significant percentage of the working population and failing to address mental health needs in this sector of the working population will result in minds being left behind.

Last updated: 16 May 2024

Dr Karen Michell

Job role
Research Programme Lead (Occupational Health)
Company
IOSH

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Themes

  • Health and wellbeing