With conversations surrounding mental health increasing tenfold over the last few years, workplaces are stepping up to meet expectations from employees that their mental health will be a top priority. As a result, many workplaces have appointed official ‘mental health first aiders’ following recognised training. Here, digital marketing agency Digital Ethos outlines how mental health training can benefit HR professionals.
Improves empathy and understanding of employees
Discourse around mental health can be difficult, especially when it’s personal and being discussed with an employer. A recent survey found 49% of employees are fearful of repercussions such as job loss if they were to discuss mental health with HR, so a deeper understanding is necessary to squash these fears. HR is the department that employees should feel comfortable approaching with any issues, and mental health training helps make HR into an even safer space for employees.
Improves employee performance and productivity
Mental health can have a huge impact on an employee’s day-to-day life as it can become consuming when left untreated. Stress, anxiety and depression are common manifestations of poor mental health and serve as distractions from day-to-day productivity. A better understanding of mental health from a HR perspective can help to alleviate these symptoms to maintain morale and job performance. Usually employees turn to HR for mental health discussions when their job performance has already suffered, but mental health training means HR can step in before this happens as a preventative measure.
Can help boost company culture
HR’s involvement surrounding mental health discussions lets employees know the organisation cares and values their well-being. Introducing a training program also reduces the stigma around mental illness and creates a healthier work environment. When employees feel like their well-being matters to their organization, they become more invested which leads to employee retention. Mental health discussions promote honesty in the workplace and this authenticity leads to higher levels of employee engagement.
Helps reduce workplace conflict
If employees are struggling with mental health issues, this may lead to communication issues and absences which may increase the workload of other colleagues and lead to tension. Training in mental health can help reduce stress levels, improve communication, and build trust with team members. When mental health is more widely discussed, employees are then made aware of how withdrawing due to mental health can affect the rest of the team negatively. This awareness can help them navigate difficult conversations more thoughtfully and exercise patience when colleagues are experiencing stress.
Helps lower social isolation
If colleagues know that a team member is suffering with their mental health, there is a risk that they could distance themselves. This is not because they don’t want to help their colleague, but they may not know how to. With HR’s mental health training, it promotes small ways in which employees themselves can help those experiencing poor mental health which reduces workplace isolation. In turn, a focus on inclusion improves the employee’s social life at work which can alleviate stress.