World Suicide Prevention Day takes place on 10th September every year, it’s intended to promote awareness about suicide as well as suicide prevention. This year’s theme is ‘working together to prevent suicide’. With the additional impact the coronavirus pandemic may have had on the mental health of many people this year, it will be important for us all to come together to help support those in need.
In the workplace, employers have an important role to play when it comes to the mental health of employees. These are unprecedented times and for some employees, difficult ones, which may have a negative impact on their mental health. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as experiencing higher levels of worry generally, others may have been directly impacted by coronavirus, the pandemic may have had an adverse impact on an existing mental health condition such as anxiety or some employees may be finding changes such as working from home or the prospect of returning to the workplace challenging.
From an employment law perspective, here are some steps you may wish to consider taking in your organisation to help support employees when it comes to mental health:
- Keep in regular contact with your team, be approachable and encourage employees to talk to you if they have problems. Whilst there are often many demands on a manager’s time, remember to ask employees how they are feeling, how they are managing with their work and whether they need any help/support. By creating an environment where employees feel able to be open about how they are feeling, it can enable them to get the workplace support they may need sooner.
- Be prepared to have a basic conversation with an employee if they wish to talk to you about their mental health. Whilst this may seem daunting, its important to remember that the employee may find it a difficult step to take so be calm, patient and give them as much time as they need. If you think action may need to be taken after the conversation, such as putting reasonable adjustments in place to help the employee, you should contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice.
- Be alert to possible signs of a deterioration in mental health. Whilst everyone is different and it’s important not to make assumptions, being alert to some possible signs of poor mental health can help to ensure that matters are managed sensitively and appropriately. Some possible workplace signs may include an increase in sickness absence, changes in usual behaviour or usual standard of work.
If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.