Nurture your staff’s mental well-being

Jane Braithwaite considers how to manage mental health issues in the workplace. 

From the start of the Covid pandemic, we have been very aware of concerns relating to mental health and the increased number of people suffering from mental health problems. 

This has largely been due to lockdown and the impact that has had, and we have heard how it has affected everybody, both young and old. More lately, we are hearing about the enormous toll on healthcare workers and some very concerning discussions relating to this. 

As people who work in healthcare, we need to be very aware of the mental health issues employees – and we ourselves – may be experiencing. 

It is important that we gain the best understanding so that as leaders, managers and role models, we can help and support our people  – and to know what support is available for those who need it.

Before Covid, we knew mental health-related issues were the most common cause of long-term sickness in UK workplaces. 

Surveys performed by the Chart­ered Institute of Personnel and Develop­ment (CIPD) in 2019 reported that the impact of stress in particular had increased, with 37% of respondents saying that stress-related absence had increased in the last year. They concluded: ‘Work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounts for 44% of work-related ill health and 54% of working days lost in 2018-19.’

As well as sickness absence, poor mental health at work can lead to increased staff turnover, reduced engagement and high absenteeism.

Mental health problems affect around one-in-four people in in the UK in any given year.

As we recover from Covid, there is much evidence to suggest that the pandemic and measures taken to manage it, such as lockdown and social distancing, will have a significant impact upon the mental health of employees and the impact maybe felt for months or even years.

How will Covid-19 affect our mental health?

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