Building a culture of care: practical steps to support employee mental health | Moorepay
May 13, 2024

Building a culture of care: practical steps to support employee mental health

One in six people in the UK experience mental health problems, with 12 billion working days being lost each year globally to depression and anxiety. As HR professionals, you’ll know that the people are the heartbeat of your business, so it’s paramount for you to take the practical steps to support their mental health.

From investing in Mental Health First Aiders to making sure you’re effectively managing mental health related absences; we’ve put together a round-up of resources for you to build a culture of care in light of Mental Health Awareness Week.   

Focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of your employees shouldn’t just be a box to tick, it should be a priority. It’s positive to see that since the pandemic, 81% of workplaces have increased their focus on employee mental health. However, one in three employees still feel the support given by their employers is inadequate and only 13% of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health in the workplace.

So, what can you do to support your employees? 

Here are some practical steps that, as employers and managers, you can do to support mental health in the workplace: 

Speak openly about mental health 

First and foremost, speak openly and honestly about mental health. Your employees are much more likely to let you know if they’re struggling rather than suffering in silence if you’ve created a culture of care. A good place to start is by increasing awareness of mental health through campaigns and training and equipping employees with resources to support open conversations.  

Ensuring managers model positive wellbeing behaviours and challenge stigma are also essential for employees to feel they will be heard and understood. Managers can use regular meetings with their employees as an opportunity to check in with them on a personal level, find out how they’re feeling, and offer any support. Read more about ways in which you can support your employees here.  

Invest in Mental Health First Aiders 

Whilst a medical first aider helps take care of someone who is injured at work alongside their usual duties, a mental health first aider will be an employee’s first point of communication for any mental health related concern. 

They are someone who an employee can talk to about any mental health issue. This can be an issue they have themselves or a concern they have about a fellow colleague. Like a medical first aider, they will ensure the necessary steps are carried out to help the person involved and get further help if needed. Read more about Mental Health First Aiders here

Celebrate your LGBTQIA+ employees

Due to LGBTQIA+ people often experiencing societal prejudice and discrimination, they’re at a higher risk of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. To combat these deeply ingrained issues, fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace requires a two-pronged approach: addressing the root causes of discrimination and providing ample support for those affected. 

Creating a safe, supportive, and respectful workplace environment is paramount to LGBTQIA+ inclusion, safety, and wellbeing. For example, establishing dedicated support groups and mental health initiatives aimed specifically at the LGBTQIA+ community can be highly beneficial. These could take the form of in-house support groups, external professional services, or partnerships with local LGBTQIA+ mental health organisations. Read more about how you can support LGBTQIA+ employees here.  

Manage mental health related absence effectively

The impact of employee absences on businesses is massive. Not only does it affect business continuity and cause problems with staff cover, but it can also affect a business’ ability to deliver its products or services at the expected standard. 

It therefore makes sense for organisations of all sizes to be proactive in their approach to mental health issues. Through putting processes and support in place aimed at helping employees with mental health issues they may encounter it will hopefully reduce absenteeism. From absence monitoring to return to work interviews, you can read more about how to deal with a mental health related absence here.  

Provide an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

A range of services are available to help employers foster a supportive environment. One invaluable tool is the Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). These schemes are designed to help employees manage personal and professional problems affecting their job performance, health, and mental and emotional well-being. This is something we offer at Moorepay; find out about our quality EAP service here

If you’re concerned that someone you know is struggling

Employers, managers and peers have the power to help colleagues who are struggling. If you’re concerned about someone, the simplest and most effective thing you can do is strike up a conversation. Reaching out to someone and offering a listening ear can make a huge difference. 

If your business has an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) this is a simple direction to suggest to someone and it could help them secure professional help quickly. Otherwise, you could point them towards helpful services, such as counselling or the Samaritans. However, if someone presents as an immediate danger to themselves or others, don’t hesitate to call 999. 

If you are yourself affected by anything in this article, please do reach out to a friend, family member, colleague or a service like the Samaritans for support. 

Share this article

Want a round-up of stories like this delivered to your inbox?

Pop in your email address below.

molly Ackland headshot
About the author

Molly Ackland

Holder of a Digital Marketing Diploma with several years of experience in marketing, Molly is our Content & Communications Manager. Molly is responsible for all customer communications for Moorepay, and for leading on and producing key content on legislative and industry topics for the Moorepay knowledge centre.